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Civil servants unions cite victimization of members as strike flops

Teachers and nurses unions have accused government of victimizing their members, forcing them not to participate in the industrial action that was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday this week.

On Monday, Public Sector Association (PSA), Federation of Zimbabwe Educators Unions (FOZEU), Federation of Educators Unions of Zimbabwe (FEUZ) and Nurses Federation of Zimbabwe (NFoZ) notified Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima that they would engage in a strike due to poor ZWL salaries.

But when the days arrived, teachers across the country reported for duty at their respective schools, an indication that the strike had flopped.

The unions, however, said that their research had established that members expressed fear of victimization by their superiors in various Ministries.

“Many indicated that they were docked part of their salaries pursuant to the incapacitation declared by education sector unions in February 2022. This instilled fear in some civil servants, with the result that some, despite the obvious incapacitation, still failed to exercise their constitutional rights to collective job action,” read the statement.

They noted that the public sector workers were afraid of being excluded from government programmes if they participated in the strike.

“Members who took part in the same incapacitation exercise were excluded from the 2022 Census and ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) exercises.

“This reduced the number of participants in the exercise as some still hope to be included in future national programs purely for financial reasons,” read the statement.

The federations stated that membership also bemoaned the little time accorded to them to be involved in the job action.

“There was little time for most people to activate their structures to participate in the two-day job action,” they said.

The unions urged members to work together in actions meant to pressure government to improve their salaries.

“Union leaders would like to applaud all the members who heeded the call to action, given the short notice. If the Government does not take action as called upon, a massive industrial action is imminent, come September.

“To those that did not take part in the action yesterday and today, we would like to urge you to work with others as we seek to engage government by all means necessary, for the benefit of everyone. Freeloading is never a genuine fighting tactic.

“The federations would like to categorically declare and distance themselves from any political connotations with regards to this nationwide action save for genuine labour matters,” the federations stated.

Civil servants are demanding to be paid in US$. They want their salaries to be pegged at US$540, the amount they were getting in 2018.

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