Teachers’ unions have vowed to continue with the strike despite threats by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to slash salaries for absconding teachers.
In a statement Wednesday, PSC chairman Dr Vincent Hungwe said teachers on strike would not receive their salaries on the basis of “ No Work, No Pay” Principle.
In response, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said that the “No Work, No Pay” principle does not apply because the teachers` strike is legal.
“The industrial action by teachers is a legal right protected under section 65 of the constitution,” said Zhou.
“The constitution of Zimbabwe says that every employee has the right to participate in collective job action, including the right to strike.”
“Our interpretation is that anybody who attempts to punish, threaten or intimidate a teacher taking part in this industrial action is actually overthrowing the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
Zhou lamented the move by the government to deny the striking teachers their salaries as illegal unless the PSC had approached the labour court.
He said that they would approach the labour court if by any chance the government docks their members` salaries.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s Teachers Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu told CITE that they are not cowed by the threats from the government as that was expected.
Instead of addressing the serious issues, the government has always resorted to extreme illegal measures said Ndlovu ZIMTA chief executive.
“All we are waiting for is to see if they have the conscience to do deny teachers their salaries”.
Ndlovu pointed out that the strike would continue, as they are not afraid of the government’s threats.
He said that it is devastating to see that the government is not committed to addressing the elephant in the room but rather it is busy with threats.
“As teachers, we are ready for talks with the government so that we can find a lasting resolution to the issues raised.”
This week teachers embarked on industrial action after accusing the government of failing to address their grievances.
The teachers want their employer to review their basic salary to $1,733 for the lowest paid teacher, and also effect adjustment in the cost of living allowances.
The government had tabled an 18 percent pay increment which the unions rejected.