Govt to dock pay of striking teachers

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Mugove Tafirenyika


TEACHERS who are currently on strike are set to lose their pay, after the Public Service Commission directed the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to take disciplinary action against them in line with its “no work, no pay” principle, the Daily News reports.

This comes as teachers, who have been on strike since authorities began reopening schools in September, are demanding to be paid US$420 or its equivalent at the official foreign currency auction rate.

It also comes as the government insists that it will not meet the teachers’ salary demands, as doing so would upset the current price stability prevailing in the country.

Education permanent secretary Thumisang Thabela gave the clearest hint that authorities wanted to penalise the striking teachers after she directed all provincial education directors countrywide to submit lists of teachers who were on strike.

In a November 6 circular to the regional directors, Thabela noted that while they had been submitting attendance statistics for teachers and learners to the command centre, school authorities had avoided revealing the teachers’ names.

“In view of the above, provincial education directors are hereby directed to submit the details of teachers that have been absent from duty for the period 28 September to 6 November to head office through their respective human resources directors by end of day on Wednesday 11 November, for onward submission to the Public Service Commission,” Thabela said.

The directive was a reaction to a circular written to the ministry by Public Service Commission chairperson Jonathan Wutawunashe on October 26, demanding that disciplinary measures be taken against teachers who ignored the government’s directive to report for duty by September 28.

“The commission has, however, noted with concern that from the 28th of September 2020 to date, some of the teachers in schools that have Zimsec examination classes have not been reporting for duty.

“The commission is, therefore, directing the ministry to take appropriate action against those teachers on the basis of the public service regulations as well as the no work, no pay principle.

“Please submit a schedule of all teachers who have been absenting themselves since September 2020 to the commission by 13 November 2020 to ensure that appropriate action is taken,” the circular read.

This comes as civil servants rejected a 20 percent salary adjustment offer this week that was tabled by the government during a National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting.

Civil servants were recently paid a 40 percent cost-of-living salary adjustment which they started receiving last month.

The adjustment was in addition to the continuation of the US$75 a month Covid-19 allowance they started receiving in June.

The industrial action by teachers has paralysed in-class learning, amid calls that the government must call off this year’s examinations.

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