By Boitumelo Makhurane
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), the largest teacher organisation in the country, has said at least 1, 000 of their incapacitated members failed to report for duty this week when schools opened for the first term.
Poorly remunerated civil servants and government are in a salary dead-lock with the former demanding that the lowest-paid worker be given an equivalent of US$475 in the fast depreciating local currency.
CITE on Thursday reached out to the ZIMTA president, Richard Gundane, who disclosed that owing to a number of challenges, including transport fares, at least one thousand teachers failed to go to work this week.
“Teachers reporting to work are forced to borrow money to cater for their transport to work,” Gundane told CITE, adding there was no effective learning taking place at most schools.
“There is no effective learning taking place in schools since teachers are stressed about their salaries and some are not even able to pay school fees for their children,” said Gundane.
“A teacher in front of an enthusiastic class is not rendering services to learners. Teaching is about delivering quality service.”
The government promised to pay ZW$750 as a cushioning allowance to the country’s civil servants while working on resolving the salaries impasse.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, George Guvamatanga on Tuesday said the government had disbursed ZW$300 million towards civil servants cushioning allowances.
“What is the meaning of the cushioning allowances,” queried Gundane.
“Are these cushioning allowances going to be paid every month?’ The cushioning allowance is not enough to cater for all the teacher’s needs since there are price hikes of basic commodities.”
He said the plight of Zimbabwean teachers remained dire.
“Incapacitation is worse than strike; it is induced by the employer due to failure to pay the worker,” said Gundane.
He added, they were urging incapacitated teachers to remain home until the government addresses their predicament.