The Sunday Mail
GOVERNMENT will tomorrow hold a crunch meeting with the statutory body representing its employees to discuss salaries and working conditions, amid positive signs teachers await the indaba to map the way forward regarding teaching action when schools open on Tuesday.
Over the past three weeks teaching staff has expressed concern over the erosion of their income due to economic fundamentals, hinting a job action to press Government to review their salaries.
Civil servants representatives have, however, indicated they have not taken a position regarding collective action with tomorrow’s meeting determining an official position.
Last month, Government indicated it would bring civil servants representatives to a discussion on challenges emanating from price distortions.
In a statement released on Friday last week, Acting Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, July Moyo said tomorrow’s meeting would discuss conditions of service for civil servants.
“Following the commitment made towards the close of 2018, Government has scheduled a meeting with all registered public service staff association on 7thJanuary at 1000hrs at NSSA building on the 11th floor boardroom in Harare,” he said.
“This meeting is part of the commitment of Government to engage all its employees in pursuit of developing common positions in relation to the improvement of employee salaries and generally resolve any matters that impact their conditions of service.”
Teachers unions that spoke to the publication yesterday indicated that tomorrow’s meeting would map the way forward as no concrete decision regarding an industrial action had been taken as yet.
Progressive Teachers Union if Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president, Dr Takavafira Zhou said they bring a number of demands to the table for the negotiations.
“We are saying to the Government our salaries should have purchasing power that it had when we had an agreement in 2012,” he said
“The last time we negotiated was in 2012 and our salaries were pegged in United States Dollars, however, there are now in bond notes and it is no secret that we have a three-tier price system where prices are in USD while those that are in bond notes have gone up drastically.
“So with the salaries that we are getting we are only capacitated to work twice a week. Teachers do not want to strike, but even if they wanted to work, they are incapacitated.
“There,however, is still time and room for us and Government to negotiate.
“We also want teachers to directly benefit from the service they offer. For instance, people who work at ZESA do not pay electricity so we want to have a certain number of our children who can go to school for free.
“We also want a duty free car scheme for teachers which will immensely benefit some of our members who are in remote areas.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) Secretary General, Mr Tapson Sibanda said the major bone of contention was the salaries issue which he said had to be in line with the prevailing economic situation.
“Obviously the salaries issue is the major one and we want salaries that are in tandem with the current economic situation,” he said.
“We want Government to give us our salaries in United States dollars or a salary increase if we are to be paid in bond notes.
“We are going to attend the meeting with Government on Monday, and we will hear what Government would have said, however we have decided that we will not report to work on Tuesday.”
Expected to attend the meeting are Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza, Finance and Economic Development Minister Dr Mthuli Ncube, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira and the chairman of the Public Service Commission Dr Vincent Hungwe.