Union says not wasting time engaging PSMAS “thieves and thugs” after exorbitant deductions

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By Alois Vinga

PROGRESSIVE Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has shot down proposals to engage the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) describing such an initiative as a sheer waste of time amid calls for members to enlist services of other service providers.

The reaction comes shortly after teachers received paltry ZW$ salary components amid allegations that PSMAS increased monthly contributions despite the fact that all its clinics and pharmacies have been closed since last year.

Workers from the hospitals downed tools leaving civil servants stranded as most of them cannot afford private hospitals.

The situation has been worsened by the fact that most private hospitals across the country do not accept the medical aid.

The backlash came shortly after PSMAS leaders appeared before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Service with the service provider’s  members failing  to show up in person for the meeting, to answer on why the entities’ clinics and pharmacies closed despite the fact that  contributions are being made.

Contacted for comment and challenged to share details on how teachers will be protected from the embezzlement of funds with no services being offered, PTUZ president, Doctor Takavafira Zhou said such engagement will be a mere “waste of time”.

“Engaging thieves and thugs at PSMAS is unproductive. What is needed is either seeking a court interdict to stop contributions until new brooms at PSMAS, or engaging the employer to stop deductions until routine corruption as PSMAS is brought to an end.

“It could even prudent to find alternative medical aid,” he said.

Zhou said the levels of corruption bedevilling the government related medical aid society are just unimaginable.

He also blamed the government for continuously paying peanuts salaries which he said are now being overtaken by basic needs such as funeral and health insurance.

“Apart from PSMAS, the challenge is not necessarily deductions by medical aid and funeral policies but underpayment of teachers.

“Teachers must fight for a living wage by all means possible. The government  has sent a language to teachers that it doesn’t care for them, and now is the time for teachers to unite and send an unflinching method  that we are workers and not slaves or volunteers,” added Zhou.