The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) notes with serious concern the move by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to suspend striking workers for three months without pay for demanding a living wage.
What is more worrying is for a government that just wakes up and suspends workers without following due processes. The laws of this country are very clear and of all institutions, the Government ought to know better.
We strongly condemn such a knee-jerk approach to a national crisis. It is not a secret that workers are suffering from the economic hardships spurred by the ever devaluing Zimbabwean dollar. The devaluation of salaries was as a result of government policy through the promulgation of SI 33 of 2019 that distorted wages and the government must, through the proper channels, address its mistakes and restore the value of wages and salaries.
The ZCTU gives its full support to the teachers because they are fighting a genuine cause. The government should take responsibility for downgrading a once noble profession, which was the envy for many. Teachers used to be venerated in society but now have become the laughing stock of the community. We need to restore the dignity of both the teachers and the classroom.
We roundly condemn the government for suspending the striking teacher and demand civility in dealing with such issues as well as reverse such pronouncements without prejudice to teachers. The government should also respect workers’ rights to freedom of expression, collective bargaining processes as well as social dialogue.
As a labour body we reiterate our position that for the time being, the solution to problems and the only inescapable solution is for the government and all employers to pay a living wage and other benefits in United States Dollars.