Ptuz President New Year Message to Teachers
By Dr Takavafira Zhou.
Greetings to you comrades. As we begin the new year, 2019, we look forward to the government to improve our salaries and conditions of service as per our 21 December document presented to the President of Zimbabwe, ED Mnangagwa and his entourage. As much as we have not yet receiced an official response to our legitimate demands, we note that two issues that were part of our demands are already under scrutiny by the government, viz,
a. Fleecing of teachers by loan sharks
b. Recruitment of more teachers to lower the teacher:pupil ratio
We hope the government is sincere in the recruitment of more teachers and therefore not adopting this move as a counter measure to use unemployed teachers to silence underpaid teachers’ clamour for better pay.
As Ptuz we reiterate our demands for among other things:
- payment of a salary of $3086 or its equivalent in US$s in line with purchasing power parity theory.
- payment of outstanding 2018 bonus on transport and housing allowances.
- Social dialogue and binding collective bargaining as opposed to collective begging under NJNC and Apex
- Harmonisation of labour laws.
- Empowernent of teachers so that they can write textbooks for use in schools and therefore fast track the implementation of the new curriculum.
- Duty free car for a teacher in five years
- Non payment of tuition and levy for 3 children of a teacher at any school in Zimbabwe
- Payment of responsible allowances to teachers, viz, class teacher, bloated class, Plap, overnight, ECD, Grade 7, invigilation, HOD, 6th form, composite class, special teacher etc.
- Unfettered vacation leave for teachers
- End of treatment of teachers in a discriminatory, degrading and servitude manner with reference to annual leave and manpower development leave.
- Full payment of student teachers on teaching practice just as in the case of student nurses, trainee soldiers and police.
- Depolitisisation of schools in order to enhance effective learning and teaching.
- Appointment of more women in positions of influence to enhance gender balance
- Payment of teachers by Zimsec for invigilating public examinations
- Allocation of land to teachers by government for construction of houses and other income-generating activities.
Teachers certainly have legitimate demands that the government must urgently address. They are incapacitated to an extent that with their current salary of $284 they can only afford to go to work at most for two days a week. That salary cannot afford them to rent decent accommodation, more so given their miserable housing allowance and their status in society. Teachers are responsible family people who are failing to provide for their families in a hyper inflationary situation in Zimbabwe. The government therefore has a responsibility to ensure that schools open smoothly by addressing the plight of teachers. It would be unfortunate for the government to force teachers into industrial action by failing to address their incapacitation as a matter of urgency. Ptuz calls for an urgent meeting of all teacher unions before schools open in order to find common ground on the incapacitation of teachers and collectively lobby government to address this as a matter or urgency. We also call upon teachers across union divide to engage in critical dialogue over the plight of teachers in Zimbabwe and pass over to their respective union leaders their suggestion for an alternative way forward. Our collectice wisdom and unity of purpose will see us through. We are indeed everything, yet we count for nothing. All teachers cannot continue to stand on the touchline to watch a game they should be playing. Every teacher must ask himself/ herself either she/he is part of the solution or part of the problem. We cannot accept a situation where all teachers have tested positive to poverty and misery. Teachers are a vital cog of societal and national development and must be treated with respect and dignity. The government cannot entrust the future of the young to poverty stricken, miserable, hungry and angry teachers. Ultimately, in the event that government fails to address the plight of teachers, teachers must be their own liberators by all means necessary.
The new year must surely bring happiness for teachers rather than perpetual misery, anguish and poverty.
Viva Ptuz viva
Viva teachers’ unity viva
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou (Ptuz President)0
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