The Public Service Commission (PSC) is investigating at least 22 000 teachers for failing to report for work when schools opened on 7 February while 1 220 have been suspended, teachers’ unions have claimed.
When the the2022 first term commenced in February, teachers stayed away from work saying they were financially incapacitated.
The Government responded by extending a salary increment to civil servants but it was far much lower than what teachers were pushing for.
Teachers who failed to report for work after the salary adjustment were then suspended.
PSC acting secretary Walter Mpandawana on Monday said the number of suspended teachers was much lower than reported. He said:
The whole picture hasn’t been provided to the commission. We have received some figures, but I don’t have the statistics now.
The figures are not that much, it’s just that I don’t have the statistics at the moment.
However, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure insisted the figures were accurate. Said Masaraure:
At the moment we have recorded around 1 220 teachers who have been suspended, including school heads while 22 000 are being investigated.
We have been challenging the suspension because it is illegal. We hope the courts overturn these suspensions.
We can’t have a country being run like this. Our labour laws don’t allow such things.
Progressive Teachers Unions of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said the number of teachers under investigation is higher than what has hitherto been reported. He said:
Actually, 22 000 is an understatement because more than 50 000 are under investigation by the government.
We have more than 5 000 who are already on suspension without pay yet the law is very clear that unless you have a criminal record you can be suspended on half your salary.
So the whole essence of the assault on teachers by the government is very unfortunate.
Teachers want the government to restore their pre-October 2018 salaries of about US$540.