We’re Not Asking For More Like Oliver Twist – Teachers

Teachers Unions have jointly criticised the government over its alleged reluctance to deal with their issues which border around salaries and working conditions. We present the Joint Communique by the United Front of Teacher Unions (PTUZ, TUZ, ZRTU, ZDTU, ARTUZ, ZINATU and ZINEU) in which they reiterate teachers’ incapacitation.

08 November 2020

Distribution:
▪️The Office of the President
▪️Public Service Commission (PSC)
▪️ Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE)
▪️ Ministry of Labour and Social Service (MoLSS)
▪️Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED)
▪️Our members and other teachers
▪️NASH and NAPH
▪️All parents

Introduction:
▪️Noting that we officially notified the PSC, MoPSE and other stakeholders as a United Front of Teachers’ Unions or as individual unions at various fora and through the stipulated channels as required by the law about the teachers’ incapacitation and fears;
▪️ Aware that the issue of teacher incapacitation has been acknowledged by various government officials, including the highest office on the land, i.e President E. D. Mnangagwa;
▪️Shocked by the arrogant and adamant approach by some government officials, notably Minister Mavima P, Minister Mathema C. and Mr Taonana Ndoro (MoPSE spokesperson) to the effect that they continue to treat the plight of teachers as nugatory;
▪️ Surprised that both the PSC and MoPSE have produced statements requesting submission of names of incapacitated teachers who failed to report for duty due to incapacitation without engaging the teachers’unions;
▪️ Frustrated that the NJNC has failed to address the issues raised by teachers and that the government offer of 15500 RTGS for teachers is pathetic, insulting and a mockery to the impoverished teachers;

We, the undersigned registered teachers’ unions in Zimbabwe, therefore, make the following submissions;

▪️Our members in particular, and teachers in general, are not on strike but are genuinely incapacitated.
▪️Our members in particular, and teachers in general, were not absent from duty but were and are still incapacitated. This state of affairs was communicated well to the employer by unions on their behalf. This means that legally, our members did not commit any crime.
▪️ Government should stop making short cuts when dealing with the issues of teachers. We will not fold our hands while the PSC and MoPSE urinate upon the SI 1 of 2000, Public Service Act (Chapter 16:04) and Labour Act (Chapter 28:01) by trying to punish incapacitated teachers. We want to warn whoever dares punish incapacitated teachers that he/ she must be prepared to run the whole distance.
▪️PSC and MoPSE should stop threatening teachers or force them to report for duty because that will never capacitate teachers. In any case, reporting for duty is one issue and teaching the learners is another totally different issue. Hope the difference is understandable.
▪️PSC should officially respond to our incapacitation notification and officially invite us in the spirit of working together in order to break the perilous impasse currently obtaining in the education sector.
▪️We are still very optimistic that H. E. President E.D. Mnangagwa will soon consider the petition we submitted to his good office on 22 October 2020. It is our strong conviction that the President wouldn’t want to be remembered for destroying the education system in Zimbabwe and him being a lawyer tells a lot about how he perceives education. We also strongly believe that there are certain individuals within his rank and file who continue to mislead him about our demands. We are hopeful that we will be accorded a chance to present our side of the story as united teachers’ unions.
▪️To all our members and all incapacitated teachers, Heads, DSIs and PEDs, we have come this far in this incapacitation struggle because of wars in our pockets, kitchens, bedrooms, marriages and families. Nothing has changed and therefore, let’s remain resolute and focused because our demands are genuine. We are not asking for more like Oliver Twist but only want restoration of our salaries which gvt reduced from USD 520-550 in October 2018 to around 5500 RTGS in October 2020 (roughly 67 USD using Government transfer rates), less the Covid allowance of 6100 RTGS.
▪️We don’t expect the equally eviscerated Heads, DSIs and PEDs to sacrifice the incapacitated teachers by submitting names for victimisation. Free warning to those who will overzealously sacrifice incapacitated teachers is that the United Front of Teacher Unions will not tire on defending its members. We are ready for that legal battle and our guns are well oiled.
▪️To all the parents, the truth of the matter is that there are no teachers in schools. There hasn’t been any improvement on infrastructure to accommodate social distancing. It’s all trial and error which eventually endangers your children. Whoever is telling the nation that all is well in schools is a true liar who should enter into the Genis Book of Records. Our piece of advice is that don’t send your children to schools where there are no teachers until the government addresses the situation. Teachers are very much ready to teach learners because that is their area of specialisation but they just can’t because of perpetual penury instituted by their employer. In actual fact, the parents should fight on the side of teachers for the simple reason that you can’t entrust future of your children upon disgruntled and frustrated teachers.
▪️ Government must prioritise the health and safety of teachers in schools. Currently, there are no enough Covid 19 abatement equipment and clean running water in most schools. Honestly, we are sitting on a time bomb and some learners have tested positive to Covid-19. It baffles logic why our government has decided to condemn teachers and innocent learners in this way.

Jointly Signed by

ARTUZ- Chere R. (0775643192)

PTUZ – Zunde L. (0772198868)

ZDTU – Tasaranarwo F. (0773816324)

TUZ – Phiri R. (0772680952)

ZINATU – Nyawo M. (0774013500)

ZINEU – Chinosengwa C. (0715815347)

ZRTU – Fambai F. (0775226380)

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