Unions' rivalry scuttles teachers' pay negotiations

HARARE - Teachers unions are failing to come up with a unified position on salaries, with one union demanding $550 while another is pressing for a $1 000 basic salary amid intense politicking and bickering.

Raymond Majongwe, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general, has slammed Zimbabwe Teacher’ Association (Zimta) chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu — who wants government to pay a qualified teacher at least $1 000 per month — accusing him of flip-flopping.

Majongwe told teachers who had gathered for the Teachers’ Day celebrations in Harare over the weekend that Zimta had backtracked on the agreed position that teachers should be awarded a figure matching the Poverty Datum Line (PDL), currently pegged at $550. Majongwe went on to brand Ndlovu a “bad leader”.

However, Ndlovu hit back yesterday in an incident that reflects escalating tensions among unions.

“I never hired Majongwe as my spokesperson and therefore he has no right to say I said this and that,” Ndlovu said.

“He is misinterpreting Zimta’s standpoint. Zimta is advocating that the lowest paid civil servant, who can be a cleaner, to be awarded $540.

“The teacher is not the lowest paid government employee and therefore we have said teachers need to get a basic salary of $690 excluding allowances.”Zimta is demanding that the least paid teacher who is under the D1 grade be paid $988 including transport and housing allowances.

“Majongwe is an activist who doesn’t know anything about teachers,” Ndlovu said.

“He was never a teacher and his attitude is expected. His remarks indicate that he is insecure and trying to seek attention. Fortunately we won’t be drawn into useless mudslinging.”

The rivalry exploded during weekend events when they held separate Teachers’ Day celebrations. Zimta held its celebrations at Celebration Centre, while PTUZ was at Africa Unity Square.

Primary and Secondary Education minster,  Lazarus Dokora, bemoaned the split in the teachers’ ranks saying there was need for unity.

“In the morning I was at PTUZ celebrations and now I am at Zimta’s function,” Dokora said at the Zimta event. “Since you both represent teachers, why didn’t you have one celebration? I wish next year when we celebrate this day, you will be united because there is power in unity.”

Richard Gundane, Zimta president, reiterated the need for unity.

“Today we face a challenge of both choice and indifference in the labour movement, particularly with the advent of a proliferation of unions and a large number of fence sitters too,” Gundane said.

“When you have 60 percent of educators’ unionised and five unions representing them, then you know the trade union movement is under threat.”

Comments (9)

Hahaha, being played by ZANU(PF). Dokora is CIO if you did not know you maggots who claim to represent teachers' interest yet you are also on CIO payroll.

Chipoto - 8 October 2013

There is no need to be seen to outsmart each other. The too unionists are saying one and the same thing in different languages, sintax and semantics depending on which audiance one is adressing. When the union leaders met the Civil Service Commision and asked to present their position paper which they unanimously did (us540), they were talking about the minimum wage for the lowest civil servant of which a teacher is not the lowest civil servant. Now that they were quoted addressing teachers, contextually someone did not read between the lines. I think Sifiso Ndlovu is right.

Robsugar - 8 October 2013

There is a tendency of people confusing civil servants to mean teachers and teachers to mean civil servants. People should be informed that teachers are only a subset of the civil servants though they are a much larger group of the subsets forming a universal set called civil servants

Robsugar - 8 October 2013

vakapiwa mari vanaMajongwe kuti vadye neZANU PF yevharamuromo saka they are buying time kuti vanzi varikumiririra vashandi vakatonanzviswa pakakora kare isu undundu zuva bvo-o tichiti increment ichauya. vakatoona kuti zvirinani kupavashoma chioko muhomwe pane kubhadhara munhu wese iyo mari yemasalaries ichitora 75% of the total budget. saka don't expect anything from the Majongwes vakadya vakaguta finish.

kurojaimhosva - 8 October 2013

"Fortunately we won't be drawn into useless mudslinging." Unfortunately you are already doing it mudslinging and in public for that matter. You don't have the teachers at heart bith of you so you just want to be relevant. be rational.

Maita Manyuka - 8 October 2013

Chipoto, I am certain you are a CIO operative yourself maybe in the HR department, that's why you are so informed about who they employ and in their payroll.

NDABEZINHLE NKOMO - 8 October 2013

Raymond Majongwe is sick. If l was a member of P.T.U.Z l would stop my subscriptions pronto. He is now filthy rich through contributions of the toiling teachers. Shame Shame Shame on Raymond empty head Majongwe.

thabani hilary - 9 October 2013

This nation has a serious problem.Out of sheer hate of the person anonzi majongwe people like thabani make unfounded statements.the ptuz is a voluntary organization and it's members support the leadership of this person you call sick.those who are not our members feel sorry for us why?kwamuriikoko me leadership yenyu yakapenga itaika tione.majongwe is CIO,majongwe is ZANU,majongwe is sick, majongwe is a sellout hey!!! Zvakaoma.Koiwe urichii?

Raymond - 9 October 2013

It is unfortunate that at this historical juncture Zimbabwe is suffering from a serious paralysis of analysis and reductionist approaches where either one is labeled ZANU PF, MDC or CIO. For the avoidance of doubt there are no negotiations going on except that civil servants have presented a position paper with $540 as the demand for the lowest paid civil servant. Any other insinuations are at best a fantasy and at worst a fabrication trying to portray a wrong picture to starving teachers. Majongwe and Sifiso's differences which I feel even the media has not articulated properly is over what constitute PDL. Where as Majongwe argued strongly that PDL must be calculated on basic salary, Sifiso was adamant that it must be calculated on the gross salary (inclusive of transport and housing allowances). So whereas Sifiso watered down government workers' position paper from over $600 to $540, publicly he gives an impression that teachers must be paid high salaries. The art of bargaining for high salaries world over for whatever grade within the civil servants is based on the demand for the lowest paid employee that then cascades to other grades. It is unfortunate that the debate has become so closeted to an extent that its losing its initial thread and is coloured by innuendos that have no relevance to the subject under discussion.

General Chen Ben Ben - 9 October 2013

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.