THE Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) has warned government that if it fails to address its grievances, it will embark on a crippling strike when the new school term begins in 2019.
ZIMTA is the largest teacher trade union in Zimbabwe representing at least over 40 000 members across the country.
Some of the concerns teachers want addressed is the payment of their salaries in foreign currency as the local surrogate currency, the bond note, continues to lose value against major currencies.
In a statement, ZIMTA Secretary General, Tapson Nganunu Sibanda said the teachers’ organisation was busy consulting its members on a way forward before schools open early January.
“A mother of all strikes in the civil service is looming come opening of schools in 2019 if teachers’ concerns are not addressed,” he claimed.
The teachers’ industrial action, if a success would follow hot on the heels of the strike by the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZDHA), which entered its 28th day this Friday.
ZIMTA’s secretary general said teachers’ also played a critical duty in the country and were justified to want their concerns addressed.
“Review of Cost of Leaving adjustment, bearing in mind that a teacher’s salary has lost value three fold in 2018,” said Sibanda.
“Paying teachers and other civil servants in foreign currency considering that most service providers now prefer payment of services in foreign currency. Unconditional reinstatement of vacation leave for teachers. The vacation leave for teachers was suspended in 2015 and ZIMTA contested the matter in court and won it in 2018”.
Meanwhile, ZIMTA rallied behind the striking doctors and the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ),whose members have had a brush with the law, after staging a series of protests.
“ZIMTA condemns in strongest terms the arrest of ARTUZ leadership. The march by ARTUZ is a pure labour matter, which is not in any way a threat to national security,” he said.
SIbanda argued that it was every citizen’s constitutional right to picket, demonstrate or organise, whenever they feel the working environment is unbearable.
“An injury to one is an injury to all. We as ZIMTA we are together in spirit with ARTUZ. Their struggle is every worker’s struggle. ZIMTA also pays solidarity with the striking doctors. We await with abated breath when for the government to genuinely address the concerns of the medical fraternity.
“Zimbabwe cannot wait a day longer watching our kith and kin dying in hospitals when the Government is paying a blind eye and attending to other petty issues instead. Life is sacred. When the citizens’ life is under threat, everything else should stop and the matter at stake be attended to until it is resolved. We as teachers, the doctors’ concerns are our concerns too. We therefore implore upon the Government to urgently attend to the crisis in the health sector,” the secretary general said.