The desire to restore the dignity of teachers will once again guide us in 2019. We have done the ground work in 2018, the foundation has been laid, the movement is now intact, and it is now time to reclaim our dignity from the employer.
Our noble profession has become a source of ridicule in our society, in 2019 we will boldly restore the dignity of teaching to the levels last realized under the leadership of Rev Abel Muzorewa. Teaching will once again become beautiful and indeed our education system will be restored to its former glory.
Our optimism is inspired by the revolutionary mood which has engulfed the teacher community and the working class in general. The working class is now ready to fight for better working and living conditions and as Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ we have short listed the following as areas demanding our immediate attention:
- A living wage to be paid in United States Dollars until the country has its own real currency
- Immediate disbursement of the outstanding 2018 annual bonus
- Adequate learning and teaching material for the implementation of the new curriculum
- Scrapping of the punitive 2% tax on electronic transactions
ARTUZ is alive to a plethora of other grievances blighting our sector but we have resolved to tackle the above as they are urgent and threatening our capacity to go back to work when schools open.
We have notified the employer of our intention to withdraw labour beginning on the 7th of January 2019 if the above issues are not addressed. The teachers and members of the working class will camp at Finance Ministry on 7 January 2019 demanding either an end to austerity or Mthuli’s resignation from the position of Finance Minister.
Our Union is open to dialogue before schools open to avoid unnecessary loss of learning time. We have done everything possible over the holiday to table our issues before the employer. The intransigence of the employer is threatening our education sector. The teachers regret that they will be forced to withdraw their Labour and fail to attend to their noble duty of educating our nation.
It should also be noted that the learning calendar is already under threat of failing to take off due to the biting economic crisis. Parents and guardians are failing to secure school uniforms, learning material and school fees for the new learning season. Phone calls from irate Parents are inundating our Head offices as they encourage us to withdraw our labor so that we get United States dollar salaries. The parents are aware that salaries in United States dollars for teachers will benefit the whole spectrum of our society. All civil servants will receive US$ salaries, private companies will take a leaf from government policy and pay salaries in US$ and the business community will also trade in US$.
It is therefore imperative for the government to resolve the currency crisis by paying for all goods and services in United States dollars. The bond notes and Real Time Gross Settlement charade should be halted with immediate effect.
ARTUZ implores government to climb down from the tower of arrogance and engage in an all-inclusive National Economic Dialogue with citizens. It is both naïve and futile to attempt to surprise citizens with economic growth and development, growth is a product of patriotic popular citizen participation. The citizens can only participate when there is a shared economic blue print. No technocrat has the ability/capacity to manufacture growth for the majority, growth is a product of popular citizen participation. Let’s put our heads together as a people and reconstruct our country.
The austerity for the prosperity of the ruling elites should be stopped forthwith. The austerity agenda is crowding the citizens away from the feeding table and preserving the national cake for the ruling elite. Todakudyawo!
If indeed the government is for the people by the people, (Lincoln’s definition of democracy), they will urgently address the people’s concerns before our country slides into a catastrophe.
We call upon the working class, peasants, students, vendors and the broad citizenry to come together and boldly declare that enough is enough. On 7 January 2019 let’s converge the Finance Ministry offices and send a clear message to the face of austerity, Professor Mthuli Ncube.
Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union (ARTUZ)