TEACHERS are urged to heed calls to report for duty while the Government addresses their salary grievances so that learners are afforded time to catch up on their studies.
The call on the teachers to report for duty has been supported by parents who said learners had already lost a lot of time due to Covid-19 prevention measures to arrest the spread of the virus.
Schools were initially set to open for the first term on January 10 but President Mnangagwa in December last year postponed the opening to a later date citing the need to mitigate Covid-19 infections that were being recorded across the country causing a rise in deaths.
A survey across some schools in Bulawayo yesterday revealed that teachers at most schools in the western suburbs did not report for duty.
Teachers’ unions last Friday declared incapacitation but the Government has said they must report for duty.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima on Sunday said Government understands teachers’ concerns but they should allow salary negotiations to be concluded while they are at work.
“What we want the teachers to understand is that there is commitment to solving those issues but can only be solved through a negotiation process with the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) leading.
“So, we are appealing to the teachers to go back to school, their issues will be addressed.
“We have a negotiation platform which they all understand. That should be used,” said Prof Mavima.
He said NJNC is expected to meet soon as the Government team is still consulting relevant stakeholders.
To show Government’s commitment to paying civil servants a living wage, Government is paying Covid-19 allowances in foreign currency and it paid their 2021 bonuses in US dollars.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Evelyn Ndlovu said all has been set ahead of today’s schools opening.
“We have managed to procure and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) to schools.
What we are doing at the moment is that we are pushing for the release of more funds.
The Permanent Secretary (Mrs Tumisang Thabela) is pushing for the release of more funds so that schools do not run out of the protective clothing,” said Dr Ndlovu.
Covid-19 has seriously affected the national school calendar hence the importance to fully utilise windows for learners to go to class.
We are still in the middle of the pandemic and do not know when the next variant will strike and how its severity will affect life going forward.
The Government has acknowledged the teachers’ plight hence the various measures that have been implemented to cushion them.
We would like to urge the teachers to be patient and allow the NJNC to meet and negotiations proceed while they report to work.
Article Source: The Chronicle