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Harassment and threats force Teacher Unions to call off strike

Security concerns that include intimidation, harassment and threats from the state have forced the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) to suspend teachers’ strike which began a week ago, the Unions announced in a joint statement yesterday.

The statement dated February 10 and signed by the ZIMTA National President, Richard Gundane and PTUZ Secretary General, Raymond Majongwe, directed teachers to report for work as of today, Monday the 11th, amid growing concerns on issues surrounding their security.

“We the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe having jointly called for an industrial action (strike) which commenced on the 5th of February 2019 demanding the employer to review the conditions of employment of our members;

“Noting that the strike was a success and having been joined by over 80 percent of our members across the country;

“Realising that the impact of the strike has invited reactions and responses from two arms of the State that is the Executive and the Legislature…”

“Committed to ensuring the delivery of quality public education as well as the need to have dignified remuneration and better lives for our members and their families in society…

“Further concerned by the wanton disregard and violation of our members’ constitutional and collective labour rights including harassment, intimidation and threats from the State and other non-State players…

“Now therefore declare that the industrial action (strike) which commenced on the 5th of February 2019 is hereby suspended,” part of the statement reads, adding:

“Our members who were on industrial action must therefore report for work commencing Monday the 11th of February 2019 and wait for further commands and direction and fully operational by Tuesday the 12th of February 2019.”

The Unions however did not go into details pertaining to the security concerns.

The labour stand-off commenced after teachers cited the need for salary adjustments among other grievances.

Since then, the government has been holding dialogues with its employees in vain.

Last week the Public Service Commission announced that teachers who continued not reporting for work would risk having their salaries slashed, a move which labour unions described as affront to constitutional and labour rights.

ZIMTA and PTUZ further told the government that they will not hesitate to start another industrial action should their grievances remain unattended.

“… reserving the right to regroup, re-strategise, engage and prepare for other disabling and extensive forms of industrial action should our members needs remain unattended…

“The employer is thus advised to take advantage of this détente to introspect and come up with well thought-out, meaningful and long-lasting solutions on the salaries grievances or risk similar of more dislocating and disabling collective labour actions in accordance with the laws of the land,” the statement further reads.


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