Teachers, Govt meet

Teachers, Govt meet
Published: 13 May 2018
THE majority of teachers are opposed to the industrial action called by some unions, and have expressed optimism that tomorrow's crucial indaba between the educators and their employer, the Government will yield a positive outcome.

The Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta), the largest union in Zimbabwe with more than 44 000 registered members, has broken ranks with smaller unions that have been agitating for a job action, opting to continue with negotiations with the employer.

Minority teachers' unions under the banner of the Federation of Zimbabwe Educators Union (Fozeu) are opposed to tomorrow's National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting pushing for a strike this week.

Zimta, which is part of Fozeu, has since broken ranks with the smaller unions, saying it would go into tomorrow's meeting with an open mind and hopeful of a positive outcome.

The teachers initially threatened to go on strike at the start of the schools' second term last week, but the strike did not take off after the Government made some concessions, opening up negotiations with the educators.

Zimta chief executive officer Mr Sifiso Ndlovu said his union would use the NJNC to push for teachers' grievances as it was the only legal and recognised channel for negotiations. Mr Ndlovu said his organisation was opposed to embarking on a strike action before all channels of dialogue have been exhausted.

Expressing optimism of a positive outcome from tomorrow's meeting, Mr Ndlovu said Zimta would consult its members on what action to take in the event of a less likely deadlock in negotiations.

"The fact that the Government has seen the urgency of the situation and is open to dialogue on our grievances is an indication of a willingness to solve the problems at hand. We are going into the meeting with an open mind, analysing figures as they come, looking at the overall package," he said.

Added Mr Ndlovu; "We are going into the meeting under the Apex Council taking the NJNC route because it is the procedural and legal process of negotiation. Fozeu is not yet registered thus we can't take that route in our negotiations," he said.

Mr Ndlovu said in the event that negotiations hit a snag, the Zimta leadership would not immediately call for a job action but would consult members on the way forward.

"We are giving room for dialogue, if that fails we will go back to our members and consult on the way forward. It's not the duty of the leadership to commandeer a strike. We don't want to go into the negotiations with such a mindset," he said.

Secretary for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes Mrs Constance Chigwamba told Sunday News that the Government was optimistic of a positive outcome from tomorrow's meeting.

Responding to threats of a strike by minority teachers' unions, Mrs Chigwamba said civil servants could only strike after exhausting all channels of negotiations.

"The fact that discussions are on gives us hope that the outcome will be positive. The only time a strike can be called is when there has been a deadlock in negotiations. Right now there's no deadlock. Due process has to be followed, where a normal notice is given," she said.

Last week, Mrs Chigwamba wrote to Fozeu telling them to channel their grievances through the Apex Council, a body that brings together all civil servants organisations. The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) one of unions under Fozeu on Friday insisted that the federation would go ahead with their planned job action. PTUZ and other Fozeu members are refusing to recognise the Apex Council's role and are opposed to the NJNC, calling for sectoral collective bargaining.

"The Federation of Zimbabwe Educators' Unions (Fozeu) is the only way forward to articulate and raise our sector specific issues as teachers, not the omnibus Apex Council that carries everyone including the sponsored confusionists," said PTUZ secretary-general Mr Raymond Majongwe in a statement on Friday.

The NJNC met last Monday and the Government offered civil servants a 10 percent salary increase with effect from 1 July.

The Government also rescinded a ban on teachers going on vacation leave and agreed to pay educators who were short changed by the ban, among other concessions.
- zimpapers
Tags: Teachers,


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