Schools open despite call to strike by unions

At the start of the new school term on Tuesday most teachers ignored the strike call by their unions, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and Zimbabwe Teachers Union (ZIMTA).

Takafira Zhou
Takafira Zhou

Last week, both the PTUZ and ZIMTA, in a rare cooperation, said their members would not report for duty when schools opened, unless there was a firm commitment by government to meet their demands.

Teachers are paid between $250 and $320, when a minimum $502 per month is required for a family of four. The teachers are also demanding transport and housing allowances.

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us divisions within the two teachers’ unions may have led to members ignoring the call and reporting to their schools as normal.

Reports were filtering through that the teachers might convene a meeting with their unions this week and thereby disrupt some lessons.

‘I was told there are divisions within the PTUZ. Some members were questioning the idea of going on strike when there is still an opportunity to engage government for further talks, while ZIMTA has not even sent out circulars to its members about the strike,’ Muchemwa said.

He continued: ‘Last week ZIMTA and the PTUZ issued a joint statement calling for a strike but now it seems like both unions are pulling in different directions.’

On Monday PTUZ President Takavafirei Zhou blasted the unity government for its response to their intended action. Zhou said the government was not worried and was ‘prevaricating and being arrogant’.

He explained that the call by his union for a strike should have been taken as a national crisis and he cited government’s failure to convene a cabinet meeting to discuss the issue, as an indication they did not care. – SW Radio Africa News

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