Military pay hike angers teachers

HARARE - Teachers have re-ignited their feud with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government by accusing the authorities of favouring the military and police whom they have awarded allowances.

The rest of the civil servants which includes teachers, who form the bulk of the civil service, were excluded from the exercise which will see soldiers and police officers receiving the increased salaries this week.

In a damning statement on Friday, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) secretary-general Tapson Sibanda said government was discriminatory when it awarded the military 22,5 percent and 20 percent for police service.

“Zimta condemns in the strongest sense the lack of seriousness and commitment by this government and warns of serious consequences.

“Government devalues all professions that have nothing to do with state security and reins of power,” said Sibanda.

“Government demonstrated disregard for teachers and has to date failed to say how leave days will be liquidated.

“But they have been too quick to commit on those service ministries that are “militarised”. Should teachers be in the military or be led by the military to be heard!?

“These kinds of actions are bad indicators for the education system under this dispensation. Are we going to be witnessing the devaluation and death of education?” added Sibanda.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said they were dismayed by government’s preferential treatment of some of its employees at the expense of others.

In a letter of complaint to Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, the minister of State for Presidential Affairs who is responsible for civil servants, Majongwe said teachers felt betrayed by the Apex Council — the top body that represents all government workers.

“We note as teachers that our cause has been betrayed by the bogus collective bargaining entity called the National Joint Negotiation Council where the workers’ side is seriously compromised.

“Senior managers in the education sector get far below their counterparts in other ministries. The differences are too glaring to ignore and as a union we believe such discrepancies are not only unacceptable but also scandalous,” said Majongwe.

In March, dozens of placard-waving teachers and their union leaders stormed Mnangagwa’s offices and handed over a petition demanding a salary increment, among various other demands.

Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander said then that government had agreed to reduce rentals for workers living in State-owned houses and restore long vacation leave for teachers.

Government has awarded teachers a 17 percent salary hike although they say it is way below their expectations.

Mnangagwa’s government has had multiple industrial action staged by restive civil servants who include teachers, nurses and doctors, over improved working conditions and better pay.

On the eve of national Independence Day this year, government fired nurses who had gone on strike pressing for improved allowances and salaries.

The crippling nurses’ strike affected central hospitals, children’s units, provincial hospitals and caused cessation of emergency lifesaving procedures throughout the country.

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