Teachers strike looms as Zanu PF govt fails to honour school fees pledge
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has allegedly failed to honour its pledge to pay tuition fees for teachers’ children and unions have hinted plans are afoot to engage in strike action.
Schools are left with less than three weeks before they close for the first term. Teachers engaged in job action during the beginning of this term over poor salaries. They were also demanding a US$540 salary they used to earn before October 2018.
Government made a salary deal with them in which they agreed that each teacher would be entitled to school fees for up to three children with a ceiling of ZWL 20 000 per child.
The government also announced the offer in February alongside a 20% salary increase and an additional US$100 effective this month.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said the government had failed to fulfill its promises.
“There is nothing yet. Not even the disbursement template exists. Once again, the government is short-changing its employees. There is neither a policy nor procedure to make the teachers benefit.
“Government now has a tendency of throwing benefits that benefit no one,” PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said.
“Last time there was a COVID-19 allowance that was meant to assist those who contracted the disease at work, but until today, none of the 1 588 of our members got a cent even after contracting the deadly disease while those from other ministries benefitted.”
Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said: “It is sad to note that the government promised benefits which have not materialised up to this time. The government pledged to pay tuition fees for teachers’ children beginning March 1, but these fees are yet to be paid.”
But Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said the government had not failed but the process needed time to implement.
“It is not true that the government has failed to honour its pledge. Due process is being carried out and we have to wait for it to take place. Remember we have a substantial number of teachers, over 140 000 of them and, therefore, due diligence cannot take place overnight,” Ndoro said.