‘Barbaric’ govt suspends 90% teachers for striking over poor salaries
In what is viewed as barbaric, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime has suspended without pay all teachers who did not report for duty since the official opening of schools while protesting against poor salaries.
Teachers have successfully completed four days of striking protesting paltry unpopular Zimbabwean dollar wages. They are demanding their remuneration in US dollars, an equivalent of US$540 they were getting during the Government of National Unity.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education announced it had suspended without pay all staff within the ministry who did not report for duty since the official opening of schools on 7 February 2022.
This was announced by Minister Evelyn Ndlovu and is likely to cripple the education sector as unions noted that 135 000 of the 150 000 teachers would be affected.
In defiance, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Secretary General Raymond Majongwe said 90% of teachers had been suspended.
“135 000 of the 150 000 teachers have been suspended by the government . We know only 10 % of the teaching force were turning up for duty. Effectively schools have closed again. Sad parents had paid huge amounts for fees,” he said.
In an interview with Nehanda Radio Norton legislator Temba Mliswa castigated the move by the government.
“It is most unfortunate at the end of the day that the government is not listening to the needs of the people. They have been resilient enough and this does not send a good signal,” he said.
“People are truly suffering, we must be reasonable. We must be able to accommodate their views and solve them in an amicable manner. Their renunciation upgrade is long overdue. It’s quite sad. They have done well.
“With all the results they have produced despite the harsh conditions, Covid-19, inflation and poor standards of living, they still pushed to excel. I’m quite saddened by this and its not supposed to be politics.”
Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) education secretary, Evelyn Masaiti told Nehanda Radio that the government had made a barbaric decision in suspending “incapacitated” teachers.
“My comment is that, I think it is being barbaric for the Ministry to do that knowing truly that these teachers are very much incapacitated.
“They last received their salaries around mid-January and they immediately announced that schools were going to be opened in February and most of them are living hand to mouth.
“So how do you expect teachers to travel from their homes to work? If they wanted teachers to go back to work they should have given them some traveling allowances,” Masaiti said.
“They should pay teachers what they are demanding. They are expecting the government to restore their salaries to the 2018 level where they were earning US$540. The Minister of Finance always says the economy is improving. So why are they unable to pay teachers.” Nehanda Radio