Ptuz Calls for Critical Thought from Teachers
11 February 2020
a) Government mutilated teachers’ salaries from an average of US$520 to US$35, thereby creating a dispute of right from teachers.
b) We have clamoured for purchasing power parity, yet Apex engages government for pathetic salary decrease and cushion that never cushions teachers.
c) We have embarked on incapacitation struggle, yet there are some teachers who entrenched themselves in debts incurred in order to report for work.
d) While the government has reduced teachers into vending at their workplace, it falsely sees this as an act of misconduct rather than a real act of poverty and penury.
e) The government has subjected teachers to an anarchic and archaic selective biometric registration when the rest of other civil servants have not.
f) The government also treats teachers in a discriminatory, degrading and servitude manner by denying them 3 months vacation leave enjoyed by other civil servants. Although the government lost a labour court case spearheaded by Ptuz over vacation leave in 2016, it has not fully restored 3 months vacation leave.
g) The government approved exorbitant school fees this year at a time teachers’ salaries have remained in the starvation category thereby making education inaccessible and unaffordable to teachers’ children, yet it is teachers who offer that service.
h) Teachers’ calls for non-payment of tuition fees by at least 3 children of a teacher in a school where teachers are paid by the government have fallen on deaf ears.
i) Other government workers have been rewarded with vouchers to ameliorate hardships but nothing has come the teacher’s way. One wonders why teachers are treated as if they are of no account at a time they have tested positive to poverty, like all other government workers.
j) The government has approved Zimsec exorbitant increase of examination fees at ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels beyond the ability of poor teachers. To imagine how a poor teacher would get more than $4 000 this month for a child in form 4 baffles logic and common sense.
It is clear that the government has unilaterally declared war against teachers, and callously treat them as second class citizens and workers. This is a language teachers must understand very well, unite and collectively nurture, shape and define their actual path, direction and future.
Nothing short of taking a collective stand will liberate teachers. Life is too short to spend it in poverty. Teachers must never appreciate their current enslavement by the employer. We are workers with rights that must be respected and protected.
The only way forward is not agonising but going forward organising, mobilising and agitating for better salaries and conditions of service, and if need be fighting for our dispute of right by any means necessary. We can certainly not salivate at govt’s poisoned carrot of empty promises through Apex Council.
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou (Ptuz President)
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