Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has warned teachers against participating in the job action mooted by their leaders describing it as unlawful and premature.
He said government was committed to negotiations currently taking place between the employer and the civil service body, Apex council, which seek to solve their grievances.
According to the minister, the law demands that there be a record of three futile meetings before union leaders call for job action. His statement this Wednesday claims only two have been convened with the third scheduled for this Friday.
“Therefore any strike action would not only be unlawful but also highly premature. We must give negotiations a chance. The five education unions should show respect for the negotiation process rather than undermining it by being confrontational,” Mumbengegwi said.
“If these five leaders who are threatening to on strike are truly representing the workers then they must abandon the confrontational approach and instead follow dialogue as prescribed by law.
He said teachers should ignore the call to down tools questioning the intentions of the union leaders.
“Government is therefore calling upon all teachers not to participate in this unlawful and highly premature strike action called for by some of the union leaders who may not have the same agenda of improving conditions of service for teachers.”
The teachers’ representatives are pushing for improved conditions of service including a pay rise and provision of adequate as well as quality tools of trade.
Mumbengegwi called on all Zimbabweans to support government’s efforts to avert the strike.
“Let us reject any attempt by some leaders in the education sector to hold our children to ransom. Children are our greatest assets. Let us protect their wellbeing and right to education as guaranteed by the constitution of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Recently government struggled to end a crippling strike by doctors until it agreed to increase their on call allowances to $1 200 per month.
Nurses followed suit and the financially constrained treasury was bailed out by vice president Constantino Chiwenga who fired all the striking nurses to demobilize– only to rehire them–together with jobless graduates and retired nurses.