The Zimbabwe National Teachers’ Union (Zinatu) has called on the government to prioritise the welfare of educators before rushing to open schools saying their salaries should be reverted back to the 2017 structure.
Government announced a phased opening of schools beginning with examination classes on March 15 and teachers have since threatened to declare incapacitation.
Zinatu secretary general, Livingson Maunganidze said his organization was pushing for a salary review which will see teachers earning an equivalent of US$540 as was the case back in 2017.
“We are pained to hear that the government intends to open schools without reviewing teachers’ salaries upwards. The capacitation of teachers should be done before schools are opened because teachers are grossly incapacitated.
“On behalf of our members we demand the restoration of our October 2017 salaries equivalent to US$540, we also take this chance to remind the government on the need to increase salaries and pay degreed members what is rightfully due to them .” said Maunganidze.
Maunganidze expressed dissatisfaction with the salary discrepancies among government workers saying that in February some government workers were given groceries vouchers whilst teachers went home empty handed.
“We would want to express our utter disgust and shock at the prevailing salary discrepancies among government workers, with teachers being at the receiving end reduced to a laughing stock most had their salaries increased in February some given grocery vouchers while teachers went home empty handed. We remain a vital cog in the country,” said Maunganidze.
He also called upon the government to consider shelving opening of schools until the end of month when examiners marking the ZIMSEC Advanced Level 2020 examinations are expected to finish the marking process.
“We also note with deep concern that the government has decided to open schools while most secondary school teachers are still marking ‘A’ Level exams and this implies that there will be skeleton staff in these schools as we know most schools are already under staffed.
“We are of the strong view that the re-opening of schools should be shelved until the 28th of this month when the marking will be over,” said Maunganidze.
Government is reportedly planning a mass recruitment of up to 3 000 teachers in what seems like a counter strategy if teachers go on strike.