Govt ‘heavy-handed’ response to teachers strike ‘foolish’ says Mliswa
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa said it was a “foolish” decision for the government to resign all teachers who are striking over poor Zimbabwean dollar wages.
Teachers in public schools have marked two weeks of not attending classes since the official opening last week. They are demanding US$540, an equivalent of what they were getting during the Government of National Unity.
Respondenting to their job action, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education suspended all teachers who were not reporting for duty. But the order was eventually overthrown by the High Court.
On Wednesday, the Public Service Commission (PSC) went on to announce that all teachers who do not report for duty by Tuesday 22 February 2022 would be deemed to have resigned from the service.
“All teachers, deputy heads and heads of schools who do not report for duty by Tuesday 22 February 2022 will be deemed to have resigned from the service.Those reporting for duty but not teaching will also be deemed to have resigned,” a statement read.
“All those who will have in that manner so resigned and were occupying institutional accommodation are expected to vacate the same with immediate effect.”
Addressing the latest government decision on teachers’ strike, Mliswa said the Zanu PF regime was constantly making itself unpopular through employing drastic measures on education practitioners.
“By its attack on teachers, the government has chosen to sacrifice a whole generation by refusing it decent education. It’s even worse with the current Covid-19 disruptions. When the professionals start leaving the country you complain about brain drain. What foolish man can ever do that?” Mliswa asked.
“Government should also understand that this move doesn’t make them popular with any sector or side, even within their own party. We cannot continue having a government that is heavy-handed in running a country. That should have ended with Mugabe.
“Being heavy-handed and gross in applying power only works for so long. It can grease your ego in the short term but ultimately it’s not a sustainable system to run a country with. Teachers deserve respect and I will stand with them.”
He added: “There is a need for proper negotiations tabling real financial incentives. Giving non-monetary benefits doesn’t make sense. You give them duty-free access for importation of cars, where do they get the money to buy them when they get less than US$200?”
Teachers unions have since engaged their lawyers through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to force reversal of the government decision. Nehanda Radio