THE Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has warned government to urgently resolve the plight of teachers or 2021 will be another wasted year for students.
Last year, learners spent the better part of 2020 not attending class due the global Covid-19 pandemic resulting in students writing Grade 7 final examinations producing pathetic results.
PTUZ President Takavafira Zhou said students will also be affected this year if teachers are not well remunerated and will as a result boycott work.
“We urge the government to expeditiously resolve the challenges faced by teachers or else 2021 would be a wasted year,” he warned the state in an interview with Tuesday.
Zhou claimed the salaries of government employees in state security departments including the army, police, prisons and the Central Intelligence Office (CIO) quadrupled this month while teachers’ wages remained stagnate.
“The majority of teachers did not report for work as government has not restored the purchasing power parity of teachers’ salaries, let alone prioritised their health and safety.
“The salaries that teachers got ranging from $11 300 to $19 000 were an insult bearing in mind that soldiers, police, prison officers and CIOs have been receiving hefty salaries since February that cumulatively doubled, trebled and quadrupled teachers’ salaries,” he said slamming the government for double standards.
“Government’s double standards in giving teachers a postdated increase of 25% in April and 50% in June has irked teachers as it was unilateral given without due respect to social dialogue. Teacher unions under the banner of Federation of Zimbabwe Education Unions have, therefore, notified the employer PSC (Public Service Commission), the President’s Office, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education that teachers would not be able to report for work.
Zhou added vaccinating teachers against Covid-19 vaccination was not a priority as it does not make teachers immune to coronavirus, but urged the government to prioritise testing of teachers and pupils.
“Vaccination is not a priority to teachers as it does not make a person immune to Covid-19. What the teachers wanted was testing of pupils, ancillary staff and teachers before such people congregate in schools. Teachers also wanted government to ensure there is running water in every school and provide sanitisers, face masks and decongest bloated classes and hostels,” Zhou said.