The Zimbabwe Parliament yesterday said the government should call for an urgent meeting with Civil Service Workers Union to discuss the current negotiating framework, including its shortfall and explore the possibility of coming up with a framework that favours the majority of civil servants by, Tuesday, 31 August.
This was one of the recommendations by the joint portfolio committees on Primary and Secondary Education and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare following a petition from the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe on teachers’ welfare.
Here are the committees’ observations and recommendations:
The Committees noted the following;
- There are 140 000 teachers out of almost 200 000 civil servants.
- Teachers’ salaries are grossly inadequate and cannot cater for their own and family basic needs.
- The impasse between the Government and teachers has not been resolved for a long time.
- Teachers are clearly demotivated and prefer to conduct extra lessons or other moonlighting activities from which they earn foreign currency payments.
- The teachers’ conditions of service improved during the period 2008 and 2013.
- Engagement between teachers unions and the Public Service and Government has always been centred on salaries, which has overcrowded other broader issues relating to conditions of service.
- There can be meaningful engagement between teachers and the government, without politicising the process. We are speaking as a Committee and have felt that when we have engages with teachers’ union, unlike some of the conversations we hear out there, we have not found that they have politicized the issues. They have been very clear with where the problems are. I think if both the teachers and Government listen to each other, we may be to address some of the problems that are there without necessarily creating the toxicity that is associated with both parties being political. We have continued to raise this with the unions that they need to ensure when they engage with Government they are engaging from a non-political point of view. Sometimes you do not get to be heard if you are seemingly speaking a language that turns out to be partisan. Thus, the engagement between teachers unions, Public Service and Government has always been centred. I think we want to underscore that and say one of the problems that we think we are facing is that we have to find a way of engaging outside the issues that are to do with salaries. The moment you are talking and you are engaging on the basis of salaries, you then have a problem.
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