Govt Reads Riot Act, Threatens Not To Pay Striking Teachers

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By Anna Chibamu

THE government has with immediate effect ordered provincial education directors (PEDs) to submit names of all teachers not reporting for duty since schools reopened on September 28, 2020.

Most teachers are not reporting for duty since then citing incapacitation. Efforts between the government and its employees to break the impasse have been fruitless.

In a memo, ministry of education secretary Tumisang Thabela directed the PEDs to submit the demanded details by Wednesday next week.

The directive follows a request from the Public Service Commission (PSC) for a register of all absent teachers.

Schools have been closed for the greater part of 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

After reopening in September, most teachers did not report for duty citing incapacitation and demanding salaries of US$520. The move has paralysed the education sector with learners being sent home.

“The Public Service Commission has requested for details of teachers that have not reported for duty since the opening of Phase 1 classes on 28 September, 2020,” a memo from the PSC to the education ministry reads.

“In view of the above, PEDs are hereby directed to submit the details of teachers that have been absent from duty for the period 28 September to 6 November, 2020 to head office through their respective human resources directors by end of day on Wednesday, 11 November for onward submission to the Public Service Commission.

“PEDs are further directed to gather attendance information including names of teachers at all the schools and submit to head office until further notice.”

The PSC secretary Jonathan Wutaunashe also wrote to the education ministry last month raising concerns over failure by teachers to report for duty.

“The Commission has noted with concern that from 28 September, 2020 to date, some of the teachers in schools that have ZIMSEC examination classes have not been reporting for duty,” he said in his letter.

“The Commission is, therefore, directing the ministry to take appropriate action against those teachers who are not reporting for duty on the basis of the Public Service regulations as well as the ‘No work no pay’ principle.

“Please submit a schedule of all teachers who have been absenting themselves since September 28, 2020 to the Commission by 13 November, 2020 to ensure that appropriate action is taken,” said Wutaunashe.