Congratulations to the teachers of Zimbabwe for finally realising that, “the only effective answer to organized greed is organized labour.” For long we have been victims of exclusion by the ruling elites who have been appropriating our national wealth towards elite privileges at the expense of the bread of our own families. The ruling elites reached a point of feeling entitled to pamper themselves with luxuries, starving the rest of us. We felt helpless as individuals but now that we chose to unionise and organise we have emerged as an unstoppable machinery.
Yes the ruling elites are quaking in their boots. They have no answer to this unprecedented teacher action. They threatened us with job losses or salary cessations, we told them in their face, “Better to starve fighting than to starve working.” We meant it then and we mean it now. They have tried everything, caged us, tortured us , abducted us, slander us and even attempted to kill us. Our resolve as teachers remains unshaken as we demand the restoration of a minimum of USD 520 for teachers.
We note the “Father Christmas gesture” of awarding opaque salary increments outside the purview of collective bargaining. Such offers are an assault on the basic tenets of labour justice. This government is robbing us of our right to bargain for salaries, reducing us to a charitable case surviving on the benevolence of a well-meaning employer. We reject such chicanery and further instruct government to treat us as workers not slaves.
The attempt to review the current mutilated salaries is an insult. The current salary should never be part to any negotiations because the salary is not a product of any negotiations. The negotiated salary stood at a monthly minimum of USD 520. The government unilaterally and systematically slashed our salaries to the current paltry USD 50 per month. We will not be forced to negotiate using the current imposed salary. We demand an urgent remedy to the illegal slashing of our salaries. Our USD 520 monthly salary should be restored.
The National Joint Negotiating Council, NJNC will reconvene on Friday 13 November. The platform has been irrelevant both by law and administration conduct. The grouping is illegal given the provisions for collective bargaining in section 65 of Zimbabwe’s constitution. The government has also openly disregarded NJNC through making unilateral salary announcements. The workers’ side has also failed to properly constitute itself. Cecilia Alexander and her cabal have hijacked and corrupted a supposed workers’ representation arm called the APEX council. It therefore follows that the fateful Friday the 13th will only produce the routine bad news.
We note that government is playing Russian roulette with the right to education of our learners. Our learners have now lost eight months of learning, public examinations are going to be forced down the throats of these unprepared learners. The government is not keen to fund safe and effective learning in our public schools. We call upon all citizens to join our #SaveOurEducationZW campaign, so that we collectively defend the right to education.
Teachers remain incapacitated but will soon take the fight to the streets.
12 November 2020