PTUZ meets Mnangagwa

HARARE - The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) leaders met President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his offices in Harare yesterday where they tabled their grievances.

Addressing journalists after a closed meeting with the president, the union’s secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said they articulated their challenges and Mnangagwa had promised to respond formally.

The union led by its president Takavafira Zhou, cited grievances that included their salaries which they want paid in US dollars, non-monetary incentives, pensions and issues concerning student teachers.

Majongwe told journalists that the ball was now in government’s court, adding that teachers were incapacitated and will not be able to return to work in January if their challenges are not addressed.

“It was a rare opportunity, the first of its kind, he (Mnangagwa) acknowledged that we had written letters,” he said.

The secretary-general said the union ambushed the president at Celebration Centre on July 18 this year, where they handed him their petition.

“Even though we are not in the Apex structures, we have been able to meet the president face to face. We articulated our challenges equivocally and he said he is going to respond to us formally,” said Majongwe. “We have not closed the chance to engage in dialogue; we have met the president after a long time.”

He blasted the Apex council saying it was now archaic and not useful in addressing the plight of teachers who are wallowing in poverty. “This is not time for unproductive romance with government,” he said, calling for other unions to join the struggle.

Majongwe said teachers’ salaries have not been adjusted meaningfully over the past years, urging members to remain vigilant. He said the basic salary of a teacher is pegged at $284 yet school uniforms now cost as much as $800.

“Teachers cannot go and teach other people’s children when they cannot afford to send their children to school. It’s not like they don’t want to go to work but they are incapacitated,” he said.

The union lamented the challenges presented by the new curriculum saying it was difficult to implement as most schools are incapacitated.

PTUZ had written a letter to Mnangagwa demanding an urgent meeting with him, to discuss a number of issues relating to teachers and the teaching profession.

On Thursday, members of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) were denied access into Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s office, where they intended to deliver a petition after a 275-km protest march from Mutare.


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