Teachers have called upon the government to stick to the November 2020 conditions of service agreement by paying them the minimum US$550 at the interbank rate and to be vaccinated against the coronavirus ahead of the phased reopening of schools later this month.
Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Paul Mavima, said teachers should not worry as the National Joint Negotiation Council (NJNC) engagement was in progress.
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Mavima added that the issue of vaccination will be addressed through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. He said:
The engagement is in process. NJNC will meet soon to discuss those issues. We are pushing Treasury for speed on that issue. The other specific issues such as vaccination are addressed through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) president Richard Gundani said teachers and ancillary staff need to be vaccinated before schools reopen and the US$550 minimum salary threshold needs to be paid for the education system to be functional. Said Gundani:
There are so many fears, fears of the unknown and the Government should create confidence so that we are vaccinated so that we are protected against COVID-19 before we open the schools.
What is good is that we have the November 2020 agreement which agreed that the salaries and allowances for all teachers are going to be reviewed reverting to the 2018 level when the salaries were around US$550 and this is the minimum requirement needed for the education system to be functional.
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said the government was supposed to engage teachers through all teachers’ unions and agree on solutions to a number of issues affecting teachers before announcing the school opening date.
ARTUZ spokesperson Nation Mudzitirwa and PTUZ secretary for research Josiphat Gwezhira concurred that teachers are currently incapacitated and they’re demanding the 2018 salary structure and the provision of PPEs.