Legality of 14 October Collective Job Action

We have received enquiries on the legality of our 14 October 2019 collective job action.

The job action is protected by both the Constitution and the Labour Act.

Section 65 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution provides for the right to engage in collective job action for the working class as well as the right to a fair and reasonable wage. Section 104 subsection (4) of the Labour Act exempts workers from engaging in onerous processes of giving notice and getting clearance for collective job actions under special circumstances. These special circumstances are when: a) Workers face an occupational hazard which they reasonably fear poses an immediate threat to their health or safety, or b) Workers are acting in defence of an immediate threat to the existence of a workers committee or trade union.

There can be no doubt that both of these special circumstances have been met, and therefore that the job action is legally protected.

a) The threat to health or safety of teachers

  • Teachers are on the bring of starvation due to salaries that are insufficient even for buying enough food for our families
  • Teachers fear the ongoing intimidation and harassment of teachers at schools.

b) The threat to the existence of the union

  • Our union leaders and members are being abducted, tortured, harassed and intimidated in a sustained effort to destroy our union.
  • Our union’s membership is being decimated as teachers are leaving the profession in droves as they simply cannot survive on the meager wages teachers are being paid.

We therefore urge all teachers to join this job action which is protected by the laws of the country.

Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)