HON. MUNENGAMI: Yes, Hon. Speaker. They are actually the leaders of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Association. They are actually part and parcel. In fact, they are the leaders of the union just like any other association.
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Hon. Speaker, it is my clear understanding that the matter which has led to those leaders to be incarcerated has nothing to do with their membership to any union or any labour related issue. It is a matter of law enforcement removed from their being members of a union or their having participated in any labour relations matter. When we met, the specific union that has been referred to was also represented in that meeting. So, there is no prejudice whatsoever to that particular union because it was well represented at that meeting. We expect that in the coming meeting, that same union will also be represented. I thank you.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: My supplementary question for the attention of the Hon. Minister is: bearing in mind that this challenge of salaries with regard to teachers’ negotiations have been in continuity for almost three years now. What measures are you putting in place so that when you sit down, you will put this issue to closure bearing in mind that the unions of teachers are requesting Government to pay them their salaries as it was in 2012/13? What chances do we have of meeting that requirement?
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: In labour relations, continuous negotiations and bargaining is the hallmark of that field. Hon. Speaker, I will tell you that on a daily basis, I am signing collective bargaining agreements in the various sectors of the economy through their national employment councils. So continuous negotiation is the hallmark of labour relations in any country. That is how labour relations go and that comes from the fact that hardly do we have a situation where workers are fully satisfied with what they are getting.
Another issue that we should not run away from is the fact that we have had currency instability in this country and therefore, we have as Government, clearly said because of that, we need to have periodic reviews of salaries hence the negotiations that have been taking place. We wish for better stability which I know the monetary as well as the fiscal authorities are working on but before we get to that, we will definitely have to continue to sit down with the workers in the public service just like every other sector is doing in order to make sure that we constantly review the working conditions of our workers.
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