Teachers end strike, pursue talks

HARARE - Teachers staged a week-long strike last week but their union said yesterday they would now pursue talks with government to resolve a dispute over pay. 

Some schools were shut down and classes were disrupted after the walkout by teachers that began on Tuesday last week.

Unions have now suspended the strike action to allow government time to consider their demands for better salaries and working conditions, major unions representing educators told the Daily News after wage talks with government yesterday. 

The government team comprised Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima, PSC representatives and officials from the Office of the President and Cabinet.

The country’s educators — represented by two of the biggest teachers’ unions the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) and the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) took the decision to down tools after a strike notice a fortnight ago. 

This was after government declined to accede to their demands to be paid salaries in United States dollars or an equivalent of $1 700 (bond or RTGs) for the lowest paid worker.

Government officials were locked up in crunch meetings on Saturday and Sunday to resolve the salary impasse which saw over 80 percent of teachers heeding the call to down tools.

In a joint statement signed by Zimta president Richard Gundane and PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe, the teachers announced that they will be returning to work today.

“The industrial action which commenced on the 5th of February is hereby suspended,” reads the statement.

“Our members who were on industrial action must therefore report for work commencing Monday and wait for further commands and direction by Tuesday the 12th of February.”

The teachers said they will “remain vigilant, active, mobilising and defensive of their constitutionally given rights for the furtherance of their welfare and professional needs”.

“The employer is thus advised to take advantage of this détente to introspect and come up with well-thought out, meaningful and long-lasting solutions on the salaries grievances or risk similar or more dislocating and disabling collective labour actions in accordance with the laws of the land,” the duo warned.

The meeting came as the teachers claimed they were being terrorised by State security agents at a time the Public Service Commission (PSC) has also threatened to deduct their salaries for absenteeism.

Teachers end strike, pursue talks.