By Staff Reporter
SCHOOL teachers in Bulawayo have launched a new union claiming the existing ones were no longer serving the educators’ best interests.
The new union, Educators Union of Zimbabwe (EUZ) was formed by some disgruntled teachers who accuse colleagues within existing unions of abandoning their mandate and dabbling in national politics.
The new teachers’ group also accuses the unions of using the plight of suffering teachers to advance political ambitions.
They further say that some union leaders have since left the profession but continued leading teachers.
EUZ Interim secretary general, Justin Murema said the new union was apolitical and solely formed to champion teachers’ issues.
“Educators Union of Zimbabwe was formed in Bulawayo in December 2020 and is registered with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education as a bona fide teachers organisation, which we registered this year,” said Murema.
He added, “The main reason for coming up with this new kid on the block for teachers is that most teachers had observed that the current teachers’ unions had deviated from their mandate of representing teachers’ interests and were now meddling in party politics while some had become an extension of our employer and some unions leaders had left the teaching profession but continued in leadership positions.”
Unlike existing teachers groups, Murema said, EUZ will not be advocating wage hikes but restoration of 2018 salaries.
“We at EUZ do not demand a salary increase but a restoration of our 2018 salary levels when teachers used to earn US$540 monthly which was later reduced to US$35 monthly in 2020 by the employer,” he said.
EUZ has more than 2 000 members whose interests it seeks to serve.
“We are here to offer the missing services from those offered by other unions by bringing all teachers’ issues under one umbrella for a fruitful discussion with the employer.
“70 000 out of 130 000 teachers are not in any union and EUZ seek to recruit more of these unrepresented teachers,” he said.
The EUZ interim executive is headed by Interim President Tafadzwa Munodawafa, first Vice President Tapedza Zhou, second Vice President Molly Banda, National Vice Secretary General Thando Muba, among other members.
The new group comes after lengthy and repeated calls by teachers to have their working conditions reviewed with remuneration being the main bone of contention.
On Monday, teachers in their numbers ignored the government’s call for schools to open with teacher unions collectively citing the employer’s lack of commitment to their grievances on remuneration and other conditions as the basis for their action.
Since the initial lockdown, there has been continued bad blood between teacher unions and government as the former feels short-changed in the current inflationary environment.