The Strike is On: Teachers Will Negotiate from the Trenches

Apex Council decisions are done collectively and not unilaterally. The recent unilateral statements allegedly by Cecilia Alexander that Apex Council has postponed industrial action to open room for negotiation is unfortunate and has no locus standi. Alexander must make decisions after consulting Apex Council affiliates.That she has unilaterally given a statement without consulting affiliates reveals her affilitation and romance with the employer.

Both our notice for industrial action of 8 January 2019 and our 48 hour reminder of the 23 January 2019 matured on 25 January 2019. Apex Council must,therefore, proceed as pre-planned to meet and shape the modus operandi of industrial action on 28 January. Any other utterances are as unfortunate and ill-conceived. We cannot continue to negotiate for infinity. The law is clear that there must be three negotiating meetings, and workers thereafter can either decide to push negotiations by other means, viz, industrial action or arbitration. That we gave notice to industrial action means we have chosen the path of industrial action.

It is good to learn through grape vine that government has called for further afflitation and romance with Apex Council on the 28 of January. One wonders why the government has to wait until the lapse of the notice period, if it takes workers seriously. It is, therefore, prudent that while Apex Council romances with the employer, teachers negotiate from the trenches with effect from Monday 28 January 2019. The legal notice is there and our total action will ensure that better results come from government. We, therefore, call all teachers across the union divide to sharpen their instruments for combat. If the newspaper articles are anything to go by, Cecilia Alexander cannot be trusted now, but if she negotiates while we are in trenches she can never betray us as we will only move out of the trenches after a reasonable offer. A complete withdrawal of our labour will quickly resolve the current impasse. Henceforth, all teachers are called to withdraw their labour. We will only go back when gvt gives us a good offer. Only our united action as teachers can liberate us and ensure we are not betrayed by Apex Council.

Our actions should speak more than words. Apex Council needs to be re-aligned to respect collective decisions of workers. All teachers must raise the flag of status restoration, by totally withdrawing their labour. However, in our pursuit of genuine labour issues let us also be careful that we are not hijacked by some elements in Zimbabwe who want to attach themselves to everything. Our withdrawal of labour is certainly not synonymous with shut down. Let expedient elements desist from hijacking labour issues.

Source: Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)