Teachers declare incapacitation ahead of schools opening

The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), has declared incapacitation ahead of the opening of schools next week, demanding the government to swiftly act on civil servants’ poor salaries to enable educators to resume their normal duties.

Schools whose opening for the first term of 2022 had been delayed by the government citing the Covid-19 situation in the country are set to open on February 7.

In a statement issued Friday, ZIMTA president, Richard Gundane, said teachers were unable to return to work on Monday owing to transport challenges and other related factors, adding their patience had been overstretched.

“The Salary levels earned in January 2022 are inadequate to support transport needs for commuting to various stations in the rural areas and to support daily commuting by teachers in urban areas,” said Gundane.

“Educators have failed to pay school fees and buy uniforms for their children, let alone failure to subsist as families, a scenario that has pushed educators to moonlight. Without a meaningful salary increase, educators have no way of going back to assume their duties.”

Gundane said it was unfortunate that the response from the government in the last National Joint Negotiating Committee (NJNC) meeting “did not give an aorta of hope, instead it squandered all the goodwill that educators had credited the negotiating platform with.”

“Teachers now postulate that the USD $75 .00 Covid-19 allowance was a make-believe gesture meant to pull the wool over their faces so that the State would appear it cared about teachers’ welfare,” decried Gundane.

“Teachers’ patience has been overstretched and now feel provoked, underrated, thought off and abused, a strong feeling of disdain has been generated on the negotiating structures. Due to the reasons above, ZIMTA now declares a state of incapacitation and now informs relevant authorities, parents, and stakeholders of this unpalatable situation in the education fraternity.”

The ZIMTA president further said: “We urge the responsible authorities to conclude the salary issue now and further desist from the tendency of throwing teachers and indeed the rest of the civil service into cyclic industrial disharmony. ZIMTA stands by the recommendations of the many teachers in the public schools and many civil servants tormented by the poor salary and employment benefits awarded negligently by the employer.”

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