COMMENT: All teachers should return to class as soon as possible

The Chronicle

MORE than 60 percent of teachers across the country had by Tuesday returned to work. Government had given the striking teachers up to Tuesday to return to work or risk being fired. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education communication and advocacy director Mr Taungana Ndoro said Government was happy with the teachers’ turnout.

“We have received reports from all the provinces and we are happy to say that more than 60 percent of teachers had by Tuesday returned to class,” said Mr Ndoro.

The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) national secretary-general Mr Goodwill Taderera also confirmed that most teachers who are members of the association had resumed duty.

Mr Taderera said as Zimta they had resolved to take the engagement route as opposed to confrontation. The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) leader Dr Takavafira Zhou said all teachers had been asked to return to work as the union pushes for the US$540 salary a month.

The teachers that had not been reporting for work had been citing incapacitation which prompted Government to increase civil servants’ salaries by 20 percent backdated to January 1, 2022 and they will be paid US100 from the employees’ local currency component starting from next month. Government will also pay tuition fees for teachers’ children.

The situation of teachers not reporting for duty was this time more pronounced in Bulawayo where only 41,5 percent of teachers turned up when schools opened compared to Harare’s 56,6 percent.

Government continues to improve salaries and conditions of service for its works despite limited resources at its disposal.

It is unfortunate that some civil servants seem not to appreciate that Government has many other financial obligations it has to meet besides paying salaries.

We therefore, want to commend the teachers’ unions that have resolved to engage Government as opposed to going on strike.

Pupils have lost a lot of learning time after Government delayed opening of schools in response to a spike in Covid-19 cases.

There is therefore, an urgent need to make up for the lost time and as such all teachers should return to class as soon as possible.

Government has for a long time been reviewing its workers’ salaries despite the limited resources at its disposal. We have said it before that employers can only pay salaries they can afford and Government is no exception.

It is therefore, important for parties involved in the collective bargaining negotiations to seriously consider the issue of affordability.

The Zimbabwean economy like the rest of the world has been adversely affected by the impact of Covid-19 and as such many sectors of the economy are still in the woods.

Government revenue comes mainly from taxes so if companies are not doing well, it means reduced revenue inflows into the Government coffers.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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