Progressive Teachers Union Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has released the following statement which states that they will not be offering their services if the government does not review their salaries. The teachers said any attempt by the government to fast track reopening schools without addressing the salaries issue will be met with hostility.

Signed by PTUZ President Takavafira Zhou the statement reads:

30 August 2020

We note with concern (from various reports) that dates for reopening of schools will be announced by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Cain Matema, this week. It is sad that such a enunciation would be made without engaging teacher unions.

While we appreciate coverage of provision of covid abatement equipment before opening of schools including testing kits and other PPEs, we are worried that the issue of welfare of teachers has been conspicuous by its absence from reports. We hereby reiterate that other than meeting the health and safety of teachers and pupils, welfare issues must be high on the agenda.

No school would open without addressing the recently introduced salary discrepancies and restoring the purchasing power parity of teachers’ salaries. Teachers unequivocally, unreservedly and unanimously call for the restoration of their October 2018 salaries pegged at US$550.

Any attempt to fast track the opening of schools without addressing this crucial issue will be met by an equal and opposing force in line with Isaac Newton’s law of motion. Equally important is the fact that teachers have resolved that they would not mark June exams unless the issue of their salaries is resolved. It is our hope that gvt will engage teachers in order to find a win-win solution to the quandary of reopening schools.

Whatever the case would be there is no doubt that the pre-conditionalities of opening schools are multi-dimensional, involving health, safety and welfare issues. There would be no compromise whatsoever over such crucial issues.

Venceremos

Dr Takavafira M. Zhou (Ptuz President)

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