Teachers in Zimbabwe have declared that they are going on strike, a week ahead of the reopening of schools. This was announced by the country’s biggest union, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) which is arguing that its members are earning a paltry US$1 a day.
Public schools across the country are set to reopen on the 28th of September 2020, following a 6-month hiatus caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Private schools, on the other hand, have already reopened. Private schools resumed classes on the 14th of September.
According to ZIMTA, teachers will be unable to attend classes or invigilate examinations because they cannot afford to meet their basic needs. The teachers are demanding a salary equivalent of US$520 per month.
Below is the full statement from the teachers’ union
SUBJECT: DECLARATION OF INCAPACITATION AND OPENING OF SCHOOLS
1.1 This circular conveys the ZIMTA National Executive decision of 20 September 2020 on declaration of incapacitation of teachers with regards to opening of schools on the 28th of September 2020.
1.2 Teachers have been hard hit by economic decline since the adoption of RTGS as an official currency. As a result the living conditions of teachers are now unparalleled to anything human. Worsening the plight of teachers is the Covid-19 environment.
2.1 The ZIMTA National Executive declaration of incapacitation cites the following concerns.
Concerned that the economy has self dollarized and transport fares are now charged in United States dollars and Rands in most routes,
Worried that the teachers’ salaries have been eroded to an equivalent of between US$30 – US$35,
Appalled by the wide and unjustified disparities in basic salaries between teachers and other public servants,
Concerned on the continued rise in the cost of living,
Concerned that school fees, rentals, medical insurance, funeral insurance and clothing are now out of reach for the educators,
Disturbed by the unilateral pronouncement of opening of schools dates without consultation of other stakeholders, and
Concerned for the safety of teachers since most schools lack Covid-19 preparedness.
3.0 POSITION ADOPTED
3.1 After a wide consultation of all our forty two thousand (42 000) members across all ten of the country’s provinces, the ZIMTA National Executive hereby declares that all educators will not be able to report for duty on the 28t11 of September 2020 for opening of schools as they are INCAPACITATED.
3.2 The following conditions must be met;
i. Implementation of World Health Organization guidelines against Covid-19.
ii. Restoration of the purchasing power parity of teachers’ salaries to US$520.
iii. Implementation of meaningful sector specific allowances which consider teachers’ status and responsibilities.
iv. Payment of Covid-19 allowances that are results of a negotiation process instead of through the benevolence of His Excellency, The President.
4.1 Unless the above conditions are met educators remain incapacitated and hence willing but unable to report for duty.
Sibanda Tapson Nganunu
NATIONAL SECRETARY GENERAL