Teachers’ Industrial Machinery clanking into gear: We are our own liberators come second term.
By Dr Takafira Zhou.
Harare, Zimbabwe. (News of The South)- In the history of humanity there comes a time when it is imperative to take a decision that is not necessarily popular but right. As such teachers of Zimbabwe have been forced by government to chose the root of industrial action as efforts to engage government have been ignored. It was our hope after our petition to Minister Mumbengegwi dated 27 March 2018, our reminder dated 9 April 2018 that the government would mellow down to a constructive approach and engage teachers. Sadly, the government has decided to pursue its usual bellicose homelitics, grandstanding scapegoatism and bullish monumental labour injustice and vandalism. Our demands were and are legitimate:
-a 100% salary increase more so taking into account the low salaries that were last reviewed in 2013.
-An increase of rural and hardship allowance by 75% of basic salary more so taking cognisance of the fact that the current $13 is an insult to teachers.
-Reinstitution of vacation leave that was unlawfully stopped by government in 2016 and successfully challenged in a labour court by Ptuz. Denying teachers vacation leave is not only discriminatory but also degrading and treating teachers in a servitude manner.
-Ensuring that schools are politics free zones and thus guarantee that they are terrains for effective teaching and learning processes.
– The establishment of collective bargaining as envisaged in section 65 of our Constitution.
Teachers across the country and across the Union divide have spoken and we can firmly confirm that we have served the gocernment with a notice to go on industrial action from the beginning of second term today. We cannot continue to accept cold and calculated educational vandalism. Neither can we trust the future of our children to poverty stricken and hungry teachers. While we are dedicated to serving the nation, we should remind the government that we are not slaves but workers who deserve better treatment from the employer in order to play our crucial role as the engines of National development. As teachers we cannot continue to watch a game we should be playing. The quest for better living and working conditions is our concern.
Even at this 11th hour we urge government to do the most honourable thing for the nation by engaging FOZEU leaders in order to address legitimate demands of teachers. At the same time we are aware that the government banks on intransigence, irresponsibility and threats, but we certain don’t eat threats. We have nothing to fear except fear itself. At any rate cowards die several deaths before their actual death. The history of Zimbabwe is pregnant with brave men and women as well as youths who were looked down upon but liberated many souls. Teacher’s are no exception as a critical national force. We urge teachers to sharpen their instruments of combat for a protracted showdown for a legitimate national cause. Let this cause not be misconstrued for anything other than a labour conflict. Perhaps the so few who always attack teachers for doing so much with so little will respect us.
Viva Ptuz Viva
Dr Takavafira Zhou (President)
Raymond Majongwe (SG)
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