Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT will continue implementing a no work no pay policy for teachers who are yet to report for duty as the matter of those who were suspended for not turning up for work spilled into court.
Yesterday, some teachers in Bulawayo did not report for duty despite unions urging them to do so following last Friday’s National Joint Negotiating Committee (NJNC) meeting.
In the meeting, Government and teachers’ unions resolved that employees should start reporting for duty yesterday while further salary negotiations were ongoing.
The meeting came after teachers failed to report for duty as schools opened on Monday last week claiming that they were financially incapacitated to do so.
Last Tuesday, Treasury announced a 20 percent salary increase for all civil servants plus an additional US$100 cash allowance, a school fees allowance for teachers and a number of non-monetary benefits.
In an interview yesterday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said teachers who are not reporting for duty will not be paid.
“Given that in actual fact their leadership agreed with Government on the importance of them going back to work I think we will continue with the no work no pay principle so that those who are not going back to work are suspended from work and there will be due process on those who have not gone to work. But those who have gone to work are considered to be compliant.
So we will continue with no work no pay principle,” said Prof Mavima.
Asked if there had been a reprieve for suspended teachers, he said: “That matter is now sub judice because the Ministry had suspended them and they mounted a legal response and therefore that matter will be answered before the courts.”
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education last Thursday issued three months suspension letters to teachers who had not reported for duty.
Chronicle could not establish which party had taken the Government to court as the main teachers’ unions said they had not done so.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association president Mr Richard Gundane said his union has directed members to report for duty starting yesterday.
“Our Saturday meeting is the one that is indicating to teachers that they must assume duty from today Monday. It is possible that there are pockets of members who have not attended work.
We are the ones who protect members and we continue to engage Government on that issue to say there should be compassion,” said Mr Gundane.
He pleaded with Government to lift the teachers’ suspension so that all teachers can resume their duties.
“Incapacitation was the real reason why teachers failed to report to work on time and it should not be met with the threat of suspension.
So, we are engaging the Government on that because we believe there is goodwill on the part of Government and goodwill on our side and together, we can resolve all the areas of conflict,” he said.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Dr Takavafira Zhou said their members remain incapacitated to report for duty.
“It would have been better for Government to give a rescue package for teachers pending resolving the issue of incapacitation,” said Dr Zhou.
A Chronicle news crew yesterday observed that Early Childhood Development learners were being turned away from some schools in Bulawayo while pupils in secondary school said they were not learning.
Meanwhile, parents and guardians have said their children are the ones who are suffering as teachers are absent from school.
A parent, Mrs Senzeni Moyo said there is a need to get the teachers back to class as soon as possible.
Mrs Moyo said there might be a need to even revive the outlawed incentives for teachers.
“We are worried because we have paid fees in full hoping that our children will learn but they have not been learning. It’s as if we have paid for nothing.
With the way things are going, we might be forced as parents to pay incentives to get the teachers back to class. We are worried about our children’s education,” said Mrs Moyo.
Ms Asala Bhasikoro, a vendor who was selling her wares outside Mpopoma High School said it was painful for her to see children returning home saying there were no teachers in school.
She said parents were having difficulties raising school fees hence something needs to be done for teachers to start teaching.
“We are hoping that Government can be lenient with the teachers so that they return to work. Our concern is that if new teachers are hired, they might not have the same experience of those who were already in school yet our children have stayed for long without being taught,” she said. – @nqotshili
Article Source: The Chronicle