Zimbabwe’s teachers’ unions have been calling on their members not to report to work demanding a minimum salary of US$520 a month.
Mathema told Parliament that the issue of salaries fell under the Ministry of Public Service and not his, so teachers who had grievances on salaries should talk to that ministry.
The Public Service Commission yesterday said an entry grade teacher was paid $12 591.15 which is equivalent to about US$154.
“For the ears of this august House, the schools that we have – we are talking of all schools in this country. Not just public or Government schools, councils schools, but we are also talking of private, trust and mission schools and boarding schools. As far as I am concerned, those are all my schools as they are part of the education system in this country. There is no boarding school today which is not open, not a single is closed. So we have to look at the whole issue from that angle as well. Schools are open, some schools in fact do not have the difficulties that Hon. Members are citing here,”Mathema said.
He said that the government had employed 5 300 new teachers in the last week and would continue employing more so that every person who is trained as a teacher anywhere in Zimbabwe gets a job.
“The Covid-19 environment demands that indeed we employ more teachers because of social distancing. In addition to that, we still need at least 3 000 more schools in Zimbabwe. So every teacher who is not employed will be employed in our schools,” he said.
Public Service Minister Paul Mavima said salary negotiations with civil servants, including teachers were still going on.
“The APEX Council which is the board that represents all civil servants unions and the government team have met twice so far. The Government offer was two-fold. There was a 40% increase in the salaries and also an extension of the US$75 COVID-19 allowance to the end of December this year,” he said.
“There have been two sessions and in both cases, the APEX Council did not accept the Government offer. So the Government team went back to consult with the principals. That consultation is still taking place. We are hoping that there will be another round of negotiations next week.
“What we have said in a rather informal meeting that we had with teachers unions – it was the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and I. It was not a negotiating meeting but more to understand fundamentally what the teachers issues are. So, we have that understanding and the Government team is going to be appropriately instructed in the next round of negotiations.
“We made an appeal to the teachers that considering that there has been an extension of the COVID-19 allowance and there is a 40% increase, they should give negotiations a chance whilst they are attending to their duties. Hon. Speaker that is where the progress is. Government has already given 40% plus an extension of the COVID allowance to December. We see a more substantial change in the package for teachers and for the civil servants, coming under the new budget that is already being considered. That is where we are Hon. Speaker,”Mavima said.
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