Brightface Mutema Correspondent
It is undeniable that the cost of living for an ordinary Zimbabwean is increasingly becoming expensive, but the latest $3 000 salary demand by teachers’ unions is astonishing to say the least.
I for one sympathise with every citizen of this country in such trying times where the prices of almost everything have increased while salaries have remained stagnant.
These are indeed trying times, but it is actually during such times when level headedness should prevail. We need to make meaningful demands that are informed by the Government’s purse and its vision for the future.
Citizens were forewarned way before the Government austerity measures, that things were going to be tough but eventually they would get better. Like they say, no gem can be perfected without friction and we are feeling the heat.
No one should think that Government is not privy to the plight of teachers and the generality of the populace, it really does.
But presenting some astronomical demands for the cost of living adjustments helps nothing but pouring cold water on the spirit of honest bargaining.
I hope some of the representatives are not claiming such amount to justify the disparities between what their executives earn and what the teachers earn.
I don’t think by tabling unimaginable figures, the teachers’ representatives can sweep under the carpet the recent revelations that they are earning huge perks.
They are now just but trying to keep relevant to their legion of members who are restless after realising that they are being sold a dummy by their representatives which has seen quite a number relinquishing their membership.
Hear me clearly, I am not clamouring for teachers not to make demands to their employer, but the demands should be realistic. Their plan B to call for another round of industrial action is even calamitous and suicidal.
The likes of Raymond Majongwe and company will get their full salaries and leave days come month-end, but the teacher will suffer the brunt of a strike. This does not need to be emphasised as the ghost of the last strike is already haunting those who participated.
The no-work-no-pay principle still applies.
One thing that I was advised to do from my interactions with soldiers mainly was, “to read the weather”.
What this means is in life we should always know where and when to strike, judging on the operational climate lest you lose out.
This goes out to our esteemed teachers and other Government employees, “read the weather!” A drop is better for now, and you will appreciate the importance of water when your well runs dry. Everything having been said and done, teachers, your employer is open to a win- win dialogue rather than downing tools.
This country needs every hand on deck to progress and strikes never solved anything but make a worse situation dire.