The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe are not members of the National Joint Negotiating Council which represents all civil servants in negotiations with the government.
This came out when the unions complained that they were not involved in the recent agreements that the government reached with civil servants representatives.
According to Newsday, Apex Council secretary-general David Dzatsunga said teacher representatives that professed ignorance of the salary deal were not part of NJNC.
“The PTUZ and ARTUZ are not part of the Apex Council because they opted not to belong to the organisation out of their own will,” he said.
“So those members, who have opted out of the NJNC, cannot negotiate with the employer. That explains why the same members will not be able to sit down with the government for salary negotiations.”
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said, “Government, as usual, met with its praise singers in Apex Council, whose hands are greased by personal emoluments in parastatals where they are board members. It’s a travesty and insult to teachers for such people to misrepresent civil servants for personal gain. All civil servants are angry and apprehensive and no amount of lies and brutality can outstrip their anger.”
ARTUZ said: “ARTUZ has noted the manufactured agreement between the government of Zimbabwe, who is our employer, and the Apex Council, that purports to represent workers unions.”
It is not clear how many teachers PTUZ represents but the country’s largest teachers’ union, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association is said to have 41 000 members out of about 145 000 teachers.
PTUZ was founded to represent secondary school teachers and is much smaller than ZIMTA.
ARTUZ is said to represent only 386 teachers.
It is therefore not clear who the two unions are negotiating with if they are not negotiating with the employer of their members.
When the Educators Union of Zimbabwe was formed last year, it said it was targetting 70 000 teachers who did not belong to any union.
A diplomatic source said recently the two unions, PTUZ and ARTUZ, were awash with cash as they were receiving funding from the European Union ostensibly for voter mobilisation and education ahead of the 2023 elections.
A British junior minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon also told the House of Lords that the British government was working with teachers’ unions.