Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ notes with great concern that the government has failed to review our salaries in line with the obtaining economic realities. Teachers and other civil servants have been reduced to paupers since their paltry salaries cannot enable them to secure basic needs in the current inflationary environment. On 04-10-2019, a day before World Teachers’ we notified the employer that we will no longer be able to report for duty beginning 14 October 2019. On 10 October we gave a follow up notice which comprehensively covered how this job action is protected by the law.

We are glad that the government is calling for a National Joint Negotiating Council, NJNC meeting today to negotiate salaries for civil servants. The negotiations are a direct response to our planned indefinite job action which begins today 14 October 2019. We hope the negotiations will yield the expected results of interbank indexed salaries. Our members and other progressive teachers will be at home patiently waiting for a favourable outcome.

We note with great concern that the underpayment of teachers has eroded the integrity of our national examinations Underpaid, hungry and angry teachers are entrusted with invigilating and evaluating performance of our learners. It will be highly irresponsible on our part to allow this to go ahead unchallenged. We are therefore calling upon all citizens to join us as we demand better salaries for our teachers so that our examinations remain a credible tool of evaluating learner performance.

Robust teaching and learning in all schools stopped way back at the beginning of the year when all teachers’ Unions declared incapacitation. We note that the government seems to be unmoved by the incapacitation. The situation has however reached a level where the incapacitation is now an occupational hazard and is threatening both the well-being of the teachers and the existence of teacher unions. Teachers are on the brink of starvation and are being further tormented by state agents who are harassing and victimising our members. Our Unions are being decimated as multitudes of teachers are resigning because of underpayment and our Union leaders are being abducted, tortured and arrested in a sustained effort to destroy our Unions. Under these circumstances we have been forced to invoke section 104 subsection 4 (a) and (b) of the Labour Relations Act which exempts workers from engaging in onerous processes of giving notice and getting clearance for engaging in collective job action under special circumstances.

Our job action beginning today going forward is inspired by our unwavering commitment to save our education from collapse, save teachers from starvation and safeguard Teacher Trade Unionism.

We note with great concern that our government is seized with trying to please leaders of powerful nations globally at the expense of providing services to its own people. We are further appalled by the government’ commitment to the IMF approved austerity measures which have failed to turn around the economy. The twin cancers of corruption and gross incompetence have paralysed all social services.

We have deliberately taken this bold but risk decision in the best interest of our profession, our livelihoods and our great nation.

We do hereby declare a teacher’s indefinite job action beginning today 14 October 2019.

We will soldier on until victory is realised.

Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)