President Speaks to the Union: Victimization, Vilification and Diversionary Tactics Won’t Deter Us!

Cdes I hope you are now familiar with the State’s modus operandi, they vilify you, victimize you and vilify you for having been victimized. We should not lose sleep trying to respond to all the trash they write about us. If we fall into that trap we will be diverted from our urgent mandate of fighting for a living wage.

After being abducted by suspected state agents on 6 June 2019, I shared my story with the world and the state was embarrassed after receiving international condemnation. The State is now very desperate and at one time they even contemplated cooking up a charge of faking abduction. They backed down after realizing that such a trial would expose them. The arrest on 21 June for allegedly violating bail conditions was another desperate bid to silence me. The courts absolved me after spending 5 days in detention, my resolve to fight for a living wage is now bolstered.

The state announced the banning of the multi-currency system after meeting some yellow Teachers’ Unions at a time when I was incarcerated and our Union was conveniently excluded.

I also learnt that some of our Cdes had around $94.00 deducted from their salaries for participating in our job action of February. State agents continue to visit and harass our Cdes at their stations countrywide. Salaries for some of our Cdes are still frozen by our government. Some overzealous school heads are also forcing our members to cease membership with our Union. I just called one of the Heads in Chirumhanzu who was very arrogant and will now be our first victim of a lawsuit.

Our struggle is just and legitimate; our Union is a registered entity. We are therefore emboldened by the purity of our cause and the lawfulness of our existence.

We will be recruiting a full time Social welfare officer, who will be seized with attending to the multiple legal and security challenges confronting us. The officer will be running a rapid response program to urgently attend to all violations. We will further roll out concrete solidarity initiatives for all cdes affected by the ongoing persecutions.

Our #NotoSlaveWages campaign remain on course. Of course we have declared that we are now incapacitated but we still have to fight so that the salaries issue is urgently addressed and normalcy returns to our classrooms.

We are holding district labour forums to, build consensus on tactics and solidify our structures. We will announce our next tactic after the conclusion of the forums.

The scrapping of the multiple currency system will not bring sustainable relief as long as we do not attend to the production side. We will soon be haunted by a fresh wave of price increases. We still demand our salaries in United States dollars or the Interbank equivalent.

We are ready to participate in genuine dialogue aimed at birthing a living wage for the working class.

Abasha Austerity!

Source: Obert Masaraure – Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)

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