Govt suspends over 1000 teachers

April 7, 2022

LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

 

At least 1 000 teachers  who did not report for duty  by February 22, 2022 have been suspended for three months without pay, Business Times can report.

The teachers, who cited incapacitation, have been pushing the government to improve their salaries.

Cabinet warned teachers more than three times to  return to work or face suspension.

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president, Obert Masaraure confirmed the suspensions.

“Overall, 1000 teachers were suspended for three months without pay with 55 members coming from ARTUZ. The government is acting like a slave driver who disregards the teachers’ rights. What they only want is for teachers to work without raising a red flag about the working conditions,”Masaraure said.

He said Zimbabwe is a signatory to the International Labour Organisation  convention 87 of 1998 which speaks about freedom of association and protection of rights.

The teachers said they are being punished for their rights to the freedom of expression as some have gone  for months without salaries.

The cost of living is nearing ZWL$90 000 per month with civil servants getting close to ZWL$60 000 leaving a huge gap for the low income earners.

“We are still languishing in poverty as the parallel market exchange rate has skyrocketed to US$1:ZWL$300 as we are getting less than ZWL$250 per month for our toil,” Masaraure said.

The government promised to pay fees  for three biological children  for teachers but to date that has not happened.

“We have made partial payments to various schools that our children attend but nothing has been paid for as our children were returned home  for not paying full fees. How can we continue negotiating with an employer that continues to put fake promises on the table?” asked Masaraure.

In the past few months the government has failed to restore the  civil servants salaries  demands to match the pre-October 2018 levels.

Civil servants earn ZWL$60,000 per month which is about US$421 using the prevailing auction rate of ZWL$142.42: US$1. However, when indexed on the parallel market rate, the civil servants are getting US$200 per month.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Raymond Majongwe said the suspension of teachers by the government was unlawful and unconstitutional.

“We are not bothered and worried  by the government’s antics of intimidating union bodies, headmasters  and unleashing  youth militia on teachers in rural areas. We will weather the storm and fight for our members’ plight,” Majongwe said.

Efforts to get a comment from Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister, Paul Mavima were futile.

His mobile phone number continuously went unanswered.

 

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