Confusion hits schools restart as teachers refuse to take classes. Schools, which closed in March following the outbreak of COVID-19, reopen today following a government directive to restart examination classes, while the majority of classes resume lessons on November 9.
Confusion has hit the reopening of schools, with teachers refusing to return to classes until the government offers them a good salary deal.
Boarding schools opened yesterday to readmit pupils set to write the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council examinations in December while day schools open today. But teacher unions yesterday insisted that their members were still at their homes after the government not only failed to increase their salaries but did not avail cheaper Zupco buses to transport them back to work.
They rubbished the statement from the Public Service Commission that the government would give them a cushioning allowance in the week ending October 2. “There are fundamental errors in that statement,” Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said. “Teachers have not requested for a cushion, they have requested for the restoration of their purchasing power to 2018 salaries pegged at US$550.
“This is what the teacher has presented to the government. If the government is now presenting another offer subject to what teachers have not requested, this is misfiring. What teachers want is that the government must address their dispute of right.”
He added: “In short, there is no school. From what I know, most teachers are at their homes, except a few who have been promised some US$20 per month by their schools, most of them with boarding facilities. The rest are at home.”
In a statement said on Friday, Public Service Commission secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe said the government was processing cushioning allowances for teachers and the rest of the civil service.
The statement came after teacher unions unanimously agreed that their members would not return to work before the government offered them a “viable” salary.
“The Public Service Commission wishes to announce that, in the spirit of an understanding between the government and its employees, the government will proceed to pay, in addition to regular emoluments paid earlier this week, what is available, while negotiations in the National Joint Negotiation Council continue,” Wutawunashe said in the statement.
“The government reiterates its commitment to pay a living wage to its employees, who will start accessing the top up within the week ending October 2.” He said the payment would not affect negotiations, but sought to cushion government workers in the meantime, in order to “support teachers who are going back to school to prepare for examinations”.
But Zhou said: “Government must stop taking teachers for granted. Teachers will continue negotiating from home. There is no way teachers can go back to school to teach other people’s children while theirs are languishing at home.
Source – Bulawayo24
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