By Leopold Munhende
LEADERS of two militant Zimbabwe teachers’ unions have vowed to lead thousands of teachers under their stable onto a job boycott when schools open for first the term of 2020.
The country’s teaching workforce is disgruntled over low salaries and poor working conditions.
Raymond Majongwe, secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), told NewZimbabwe.com Friday that teachers no longer feared dismissal if they failed to report for work as their meagre salaries were of no value.
“You cannot expect teachers to go back to work when they have no money for transport, when their children cannot go to school,” he said.
“I do not see schools opening because teachers that I have seen, whose comments I see everyday are vowing that they are not going to return to work.
“I do not see any school opening because they (teachers) have garnered enough courage and zeal to say ’hapana kusiri kudzingwa basa’ (being paid low wages is just as good as dismissal). The teachers will only report back to work when their issues have been addressed, when issues around remuneration and others have been dealt with,” Majongwe said.
Meanwhile, Obert Masaraure, the president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) said they will not waste time going to work and will only resume duties when government has created a conducive teaching environment for all.
“The teachers are earning (equivalent) US$30 per month, which is not enough to cater for the education of their dependants, food, shelter, health care and even transport to work,” he said .
“We will not pretend to be teaching when we are not, we cannot hazard the future of innocent children by giving them substandard education, we will teach when the conditions are right.
“The poor performance of the 2019 Grade 7 class is a wake-up call for both parents and teachers.”
Teachers spent a long period in 2019 on industrial action that almost derailed marking of final Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) examinations late last year.
Last year, a series of failed dialogue sessions between teachers’ unions and the government were abandoned.
The last failed meeting attempt between the two parties saw the Apex Council leaders tearing a petition they had intended to hand Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.