Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT has agreed to increase allowances for teachers and is monitoring the situation in schools to decide on the course of action to take against those who are not reporting for work.
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) issued a joint statement recently saying they would be going on strike on Tuesday.
Teachers are demanding a minimum salary of $ 1 733 up from $414.
In an interview yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Edgar Moyo said Government was not threatening to punish people but was urging teachers to report for work while salary negotiations continue.
“We’ve received reports that some teachers are not going to work while others are going but not teaching the children. We’ve also been informed that there are some teachers who are sending children back home.
“We’re monitoring the situation in schools and a decision will be made on what course of action to take on the teachers who are not doing their work and sending children back home,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
He said in every labour issue, there are processes to be followed and teachers must concentrate on their mandate to teach children while proper channels are being followed.
He said Government has agreed to increase teachers’ allowances but did not give figures.
“Government has moved in to try and meet the demands of the teachers and try to alleviate the suffering of all its workers through the National Joint negotiating Council (NJNC) starting from last year.
“There is also the interface between the ministry and the teachers’ unions, where the issue of allowances are being discussed. We’ve agreed that the allowances for heads of departments, teachers in charge, acting allowances and others should be reviewed,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
He said they also agreed that invigilators’ allowances, which are paid by Zimsec should also be reviewed adding that committees have been set up to come up with figures for consideration by the Government.
The Deputy Minister acknowledged that the allowances might be less than what the teachers expect but reiterated the Government’s commitment to meet their demands.
“The Government is trying and I would like to appeal to the teachers to appreciate Government’s efforts. We should work together towards our mandate of providing education to the children and promote development in the country,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
He said teachers should give dialogue a chance and be patient with the Government as negotiations continue.
“In any environment, we should be guided by principles and there are processes towards achieving results. We should appreciate that the results are not instant and as such teachers should be patient.
“The purpose of a strike is to highlight concerns of an aggrieved party and call for dialogue, “ said Deputy Minister Moyo.
He said it therefore defeats logic for workers to stay away from work when there’s dialogue already.
The Deputy Minister said the Government understands that the cost of living had risen sharply but teachers should be sensitive to the plight of their pupils.