By Sibonginkosi Maphosa/Brenda Matendere
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) yesterday claimed that the majority of its members had heeded the call to boycott classes over unresolved salary issues, and vowed to protect its striking members against victimisation by government.
Zimta chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu said the union would not let its members be victimised for exercising their rights.
“No member of Zimta will be fired for exercising their rights. They have done nothing illegal instead they have informed the government that they are not reporting for duty because they are incapacitated,” Ndlovu said.
“Our members will not report for duty up until our employer capacitates us. Imagine a teacher who works at a school in Ntulula in Tsholotsho, the money she spends to get to her station compared to her monthly earnings is just pathetic.”
While some teachers yesterday reported for duty, others were in a no-show after Zimta, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe called for a nationwide industrial action.
Civil servants last week rejected a 97% salary increment offered by the government as they insisting on getting paid salaries equivalent to what they used to get during the multi-currency regime.
Teachers in most schools in the Midlands capital of Gweru stayed home.
A snap survey carried by NewsDay revealed that there was high absenteeism of the majority of teachers, while those that reported for duty were not taking up lessons.
At Mkoba 1 Secondary School, students were still roaming around the school with no order by mid-day, a sign that teachers were not in classes. The same scenario was witnessed at Chaplin High School, Senga Secondary and Thornhill High School.
Teachers, who spoke to NewsDay at the various institutions visited, said their colleagues who stayed home indicated in social media groups that they were incapacitated to report for work.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said most schools had recorded a low teacher turnout.
“Teachers are severely incapacitated and learners are ill-equipped for the learning season. Riot police has been deployed in the majority of urban schools scaring the already traumatised learners,” he said. NewsDay