The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) converged in Gweru on Saturday, 6 January 2018. The Gweru meeting was a planning meeting for 2018 which has been declared by ARTUZ as year of “Restoring teacher legacy!”

NEC noted and applauded the 150% membership increase in 2017 and is encouraged to punch harder in 2018 as we seek to restore teacher legacy.

The meeting resolved the following:

New Curriculum

ARTUZ commends the new Minister of Primary and Secondary Education for showing commitment to adopting recommendations submitted by unions and various stakeholders around the implementation of the new curriculum.

The union undertakes to closely monitor the implementation of these recommendations of the ground and will give periodic reports.

Vacation Leave and Pension Deductions

The Union urges all teachers due for vacation leave must proceed to apply and take leave. ARTUZ to demand a rural allowance which is 100% of current salaries. The Union will run a campaign dubbed “pay me or transfer me now!” Under the campaign the Union will mobilise teachers in rural schools to write letters of demand at the end of every term. Teachers will then march to their respective district education offices to submit the letters.

The 7,5% pension deduction is opaque since civil servants are not given realtime updates of their contributions.The pension contribution is ultra vires to SI 2000 which clearly states that 7,5% should be calculated from basic salary excluding allowances. The current scenario is grossly unfair as it deducts from gross earnings.

Pension contributions are also in contempt of the Kadoma declaration on living wages. Teachers are earning salaries way below the poverty datum line and deducting anything from their meager earning is nothing less than criminality.

The Union will run a cease the above deduction campaign. Teachers will circle the pension deduction on payslips and submit them to the Civil Service Commission in bulk.

Teacher Professional Council and Civil Service

The Union to challenge the Teacher Professional Council in Court since it is designed to muzzle unionism and thus violates fundamental constitutionally guaranteed labor rights. The animal was exclusively created without proper consultations with the teachers. The union will engage its legal teams to find remedy to the placement of the Civil Service under the Office of President and Cabinet.

Students’ Teacher welfare

The Union will partner with Zimbabwe National Students’ Union, ZINASU and ARTUZ students board to run a campaign advancing the interests of the suffering students.

Economic Crisis

The price hikes have eroded workers’ salaries, ARTUZ will join hands with other progressive Unions demanding salary increase. This campaign will be a successor of the #Pocketsout campaign.

The government must find a lasting solution to both the economic meltdown and the cash crisis blighting our country.

NEC noted the zealous pursuit of neo liberal policies by the current government. This is a threat to the Socio economic rights of the ordinary poor. ARTUZ stand ready to joins with all proponents of an egalitarian society to smash the neo liberal agenda.

2018 Elections

The NEC resolved to embark on a robust voter mobilisation drive. Mobilising teachers and other citizens to register to vote and further mobilising them to vote on voting day.

ARTUZ will use multiple strategies to demand free and fair elections so that our country can achieve a constitutional democracy.

The safe schools campaign will be sustained in 2018 to ensure a safe and secure environment in schools before, during and after the 2018 polls

Factional fights in trade unions

NEC noted with disdain and serious concern the escalating internal disputes in many sister teacher unions. Such fights are threatening existence of robust Unionism in our sector. Member contributions are fleeced during these chaotic moments rendering Unions weaker.

ARTUZ stands ready to mediate in internal conflicts in the best interest of the teaching profession and unionism.

International front

ARTUZ stands in solidarity with the Palestinians as they demand their sovereign territory from the state of Israel. We urge foreign super powers to desist from fuelling the Israel- Palestine conflict.

The Union implores the African Union to find a lasting solution to the Libyan crisis. Slavery in this day and age is disgusting and the AU must step up in the best interests of humanity and the credibility of the grouping.

The nuclear standoff between North Korea and United States of America is a serious threat to global security. We implore the two parties to soberly engage in line with International Law and pursuit of global peace.

Opening Day 2018

The union welcomes teachers and learners to the first team of 2018 and urges authorities in schools to abide by the law and stop the decadent practice of sending back learners for none payment of fees.

Conclusion

The Union thanked artist Hosea Chipanga for singing a moving song capturing the plight of teachers. ARTUZ is indebted as such a show of support.

Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)