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Madhuku fights in striking teachers corner

Madhuku fights in striking teachers corner

Constitutional law expert Professor Madhuku has hit out at Government for suspending thousands of teachers who embarked on a stay away in a bid to push for higher salaries.

“Teachers cannot be suspended from work by a Government Minister: they are employed by the PSC (Public Service Commission). Even the PSC itself has no power whatsoever to effect a blanket and mass suspension. The purported suspensions are unacceptable. Government must dialogue with teachers’ unions and address issues,” he tweeted.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on Thursday announced a blanket suspension of all officials within the Ministry who absented themselves from duty since the official opening of schools on February 7, 2022.

They were suspended without pay forthwith, for a period of three months.

“During this period of suspension, members are not to hinder or interfere with any investigation or evidence relating to the alleged misconduct. Appropriate action will be taken against members who abrogate their duties and responsibilities,” the ministry said in a statement.

Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, Thumisang Thabela had earlier written to all provincial education directors, district schools inspectors and heads of schools directing them to take disciplinary measures on all teachers engaging in a stay-away over paltry salaries.

This came after teachers launched a crippling nationwide strike on Monday, demanding to be paid US$ dollar salaries to cushion against a sharp increase in prices of basic goods and services as the local currency continues to tank against the green back.

The lowest paid teacher earns around Z$21,000, about US$90 on the parallel market.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) has previously urged Government to respect processes of collective bargaining saying bad faith at the negotiating table had seen teachers fail to attend classes for a second day running.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe maintained that teachers are not on strike but are simply incapacitated.

“135 000 of the 150 000 teachers have been suspended by government. We know only 10% of the teaching force were turning up for duty. Effectively, schools have closed again. Sad parents had paid huge amounts for fees,” he tweeted.

“We also call on all parents to stop sending children to school until the government starts respecting public education,” he added.

Government earlier this week awarded civil servants a 20 percent salary hike and other non monetary benefits that include duty-free tax on imported vehicles, provision of transport, houses and pay tuition for their children.

A section of teachers’ unions said the increments were inadequate to lift them out of incapacitation and fell short of US$540 per month which they have been demanding for.