HARARE - State teachers have requested a meeting with President Robert Mugabe to discuss their delayed remuneration and the attempt to cancel their annual vacation.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has forwarded the request to the presidency, amid teacher complaints that the president — a teacher by profession — is being misled about their plight by minister of Primary and Secondary Education Lazarus Dokora and his Public Service counterpart Prisca Mupfumira.
Unions and government have been at loggerheads since December over late payment of salaries and bonuses.
The rift widened when government sent circulars to schools demanding that all teachers on vacation return to their stations for a head count by the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
Teachers have particularly been incensed by the new decree to go on leave after 14 years of service.
This comes as the PTUZ has petitioned CSC chairperson Mariyawanda Nzuwa, Dokora and Mupfumira to stick to the provisions of Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000 or Public Service Regulations, outlining conditions of service for government workers.
“In a meeting conducted on January 29, we recommended the following issues as a matter of concern, that is, meet president Mugabe as PTUZ as we have lost faith in the other associations and unions, for we strongly feel that he is being ill-advised by the concerned ministers,” PTUZ said in a communiqué.
PTUZ national coordinator Ladistous Zunde told the Daily News yesterday that some of the issues they wanted to be addressed were the teaching pedagogy qualification that is wanted.
He said some teachers have been serving for a very long time but because they do not have the requisite qualifications, they could be fired.
“Zimbabwe is at the apex of countries on the continent with the best education and it is because of these teachers that they want to disregard,” Zunde said.
“They have a lot of experience compared to some of the teachers who are being admitted into schools.
“The biggest problem we have with government is that they do not consult before implementing recommendations, as such, it not only creates problems for us but the whole system.”
The unionist said given ample time, teachers can enrol for post graduate diplomas to meet the required qualifications.
Zunde scoffed at government mantras that the new requirements were meant to bring local standards in tandem with regional standards.
“If what they are saying is sincere, why did they only choose the one trend which is unfortunately guided by the law?
“If we are to follow regional trends, then they should also include the issue of salaries because truthfully ours are pathetic,” he said.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said the government wage bill takes up 80 percent of total revenue and that limited resources available made it difficult for the State to award significant wage increases.
Although schools opened on schedule for the new term, State-employed teachers are protesting delayed salaries and bonuses.