By Leopold Munhende
FIREBRAND Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general Raymond Majongwe has threatened unspecified action on school heads who were going to victimise their teachers for joining Friday’s demonstration for improved wages.
“If they victimise you, please get their names, their phone numbers and where they stay, we might visit them one day,” he said to a handful teachers who attended the march in Harare.
Majongwe said during Friday’s PTUZ march to press for wage increases that a lot of teachers who were keen to join the protest had been blocked by their headmasters who suddenly called for staff meetings when it was time to go and join the demonstration.
The teachers are demanding a wage increase of up to $3 000 minimum or the current remuneration pegged in US dollars.
They also want government assurances of their November bonuses, the scrapping of the 2% tax on all electronic transfers and treasury’s immediate remission of their monthly contributions to government’s health insurer, Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS).
Teachers who joined the march further threatened a crippling job action if government did not heed their demands.
During the era of former state leader Robert Mugabe, Majongwe said, teachers used to get their bonuses adding that there was no excuse for Finance Minister Ncube not to place any concrete assurances they were due to receive their 13th cheque.
“Tell Mthuli Ncube that I said Mugabe gave us a bonus; this is not because we want Mugabe back but what we are saying is that his successor must do better than him,” said the PTUZ chief.
Majongwe blasted government officials who were quick to fly out to foreign hospitals while leaving poor workers to consult traditional healers and prophets as they could nolonger afford clinical treatment.
“If you (senior government officials) fall sick, you are not treated here while we have to survive on traditional healers, prophets and ‘Aguma’ prophets like Magaya,” he said, in a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Harare preacher’s HIV/Aids ‘cure’.
Government is yet to respond directly to the teachers’ demands although recent pronouncements by top officials have shown executive reluctance to abandon the status quo.
Ncube said this week that government was considering some form of bonus incentive for civil servants while he has also said before that the country’s multi-currency regime which includes the use of the dreaded local bond note was there to stay.
Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi has also revealed government would not take the route of any wage freeze in response to price increases while President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Thursday that his government was sticking by its unpopular 2% tax.