Teachers demand payment for anti-sanctions demo duty

The Progressive Teachers Union Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has demanded that the government pays teachers who will be on duty on Friday in accordance with the country`s labour laws.

This comes at a time when the government has since declared Friday a public holiday to pave way for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) solidarity day against Western sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

The regional bloc at its recent summit in Tanzania, set aside October 25, a day for campaigning for the lifting of the Zimbabwean sanctions, which SADC has said they were affecting the whole region.

Some teachers and learners in Harare have also been ordered by the government to participate in the anti-sanctions demo main event in the capital.

PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe, in a statement, said they are worried about the government`s silence on the remuneration of civil servants who will be working on the day.

Majongwe said the government must make sure they abide by the law and pay all headmasters and teachers who will be reporting for duty on the public holiday.

“As the PTUZ we note with concern that a hurriedly written minute signed by Minister Prof P Mavhima ignored addressing this issue properly. It simply stated business of examinations will continue as normal,” said Majongwe.

Majongwe quoted the Labour Act (Chapter 28:01) section 14c subsection 2 which states that “It is an employee’s right to be granted leave of absence on days declared public holidays”.

“Subsection 3 also reads ‘where an employee consents to work on a public holiday, he shall be paid not less than twice his current remuneration’,” said Majongwe.

“Take note, to work on a public holiday needs the employee to consent otherwise it will be tantamount to forced labour as defined in section 7 of same act. If government declares a public holiday it means everybody (employee) is entitled to rest/no work.”

He added: “It’s very unfortunate that government thinks teachers are ignorant and should as usual be commandeered this way. For the avoidance of doubt all the teachers to render service on a public holiday should be paid according to the stipulations of the laws of the land.”

Majongwe said PTUZ will officially notify the Public Services Commission (PSC) and other relevant stakeholders of their demand.

He urged all schools to have requisite forms to be filled in by teachers for Salaries Services Bureau (SSB) to process payment without any delays.

In the cited statement, Minister Paul Mavhima stated that school heads, principals, invigilators and all those involved in running the examinations should ensure that all candidates report to their respective examination centers as per their time tables.

The minister stated that when the day was declared a public holiday the government was aware that ‘O’ and ‘A’ level public examinations were in progress.

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