The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has advised government that teachers are incapacitated and will not be ready for work when the general school calendar commences next month.
Last week, government announced that schools will open on 7 February after a lengthy delay due to the COVID-19 precautions.
In a letter to the Public Service Commission (PSC), PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said the government was not taking the -plight of its employees seriously.
“We take note of the statement by the government informing the nation that schools will be opened on the 7th of February, 2022. It would seem that the government is always spoiling for a fight with its long-suffering employees, given the timing of the announcement and the prevailing circumstances.
“Our membership cannot be expected to comply with the directive to reopen schools now, before the government has financially capacitated them. Therefore, the PTUZ position, as advised by its members, is as follows: Teachers are not ready for the reopening of school,” said Majongwe
He said the Government does not take issues of teacher remuneration with importance given the situation obtaining on the ground.
“Our members are pauperized to the extent that none of them, with the money paid to them on 18th January, is able to pay for school or college fees for their dependents. It does not make sense that government expects our members to teach other people’s children while ours are at home. No teacher can send their children or dependents to boarding schools, which even puts those teaching there in a quandary.
“While it was expected that government would urgently solve the issue of teacher remuneration, it is clear that government does not take the issue of salary negotiations as a priority. Only one round of talks has been held, about three weeks ago, and the feedback given showed that the talks were nothing to write home about.
“Given the above scenario, we would be shocked if government genuinely believes that teachers will report for work on the 7th of February, 2022. The ball is in the government’s court. There are about ten days between today and the expected opening of schools. Whether government wisely utilizes that period or not is what we wait to see in the next few days.” he said
Government has been at loggerheads with civil servants over poor remuneration and working conditions for several years now and the situation has led to disruptions in service delivery.