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Govt dodging us, teachers fume

GOVERNMENT has been accused of evading teachers by not calling for the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meetings to discuss the public sector workers’ welfare.

The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) yesterday said the first quarter NJNC salary negotiations were due in April, but the government seemed reluctant to call for the meeting.

Zimta president Akuneni Maphosa said the morale of teachers was at rock bottom.

“Dissatisfied members of the teaching fraternity are sadly trickling back to their workstations under difficult and unforeseen circumstances as the employer has failed to respond to the calls for meetings to discuss salary during the month of April 2024, which should mark the first quarter negotiations of the NJNC meeting which has been the norm over the years,” Maphosa said in a statement.

“Zimta in its representation of the various structures within the teaching fraternity has made various attempts to draw the employer to the discussion table with no success.

“Because of this attitude from the employer, members of the teaching fraternity believe that their Right to Collective Bargaining under the NJNC is being infringed upon.”

Public Service Commission secretary Tsitsi Choruma was not answering her mobile phone when contacted for comment yesterday.

Zimbabwe Congress of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) accused the government of dragging its feet on salary talks.

“What we expect is for the employer to abide by the negotiation agreement. After the introduction of ZiG, we really need to meet and consolidate our remuneration framework,” ZCPSTU deputy secretary-general Gibson Mushangu said.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union (Artuz) leader Obert Masaraure urged teachers to down tools in protest.

“We have instructed our membership to completely withdraw their labour until such a time the demands we have been making and continue making are met with a sense of urgency and seriousness that they deserve,” he said.

Meanwhile, a survey by Artuz revealed a significant decline of learner attendance when schools opened on Tuesday.

“The total learner attendance nationwide stood at 20% which is a scary reality and a new low for the Zimbabwean education sector,” Artuz leader Obert Masaraure said.

“The situation we are witnessing is at risk of being exacerbated by the drought that the nation is experiencing. The issue of hunger is more likely going to double or triple the 500 000 students who are out of school due to poverty and famine.”

Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson, Taungana Ndoro, however, refuted Artuz claims.

“The successful and smooth opening of the second school term, with nearly 100% attendance from both pupils and teachers, is a testament to the positive reception of the enhanced Heritage-Based curriculum,” he said.

“This positive response reflects the commitment of teachers and pupils to embrace a curriculum that celebrates our nation’s rich cultural heritage.”

Source | NewsDay


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