We are open to dialogue, teachers say

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TEACHERS’ unions say they are open to genuine dialogue with the government to end the current industrial action
which has paralysed schools.
This comes as teachers continue to stay away from schools to press the government for improved salaries and working conditions. In a joint statement by eight teachers’ unions, they expressed willingness to resolve differences with the government.

“Teacher union leaders are ready to engage in meaningful dialogue any time from now to end the current logjam.
“(The) Public Service Commission or the government should take teachers’ plight seriously and stop this tomfoolery of playing hide-andseek with the lives of teachers in particular and of the innocent learners.

“Teachers remain incapacitated as nothing has changed. This means our members will not be able to
report for duty anytime soon until the government faithfully engages teachers’ unions,” they said.

The unions had no kind words for Labour minister Paul Mavima and Primary and Secondary education minister
Cain Mathema, who they accused of playing politics with issues affecting teachers.

“Minister Mavima and his counterpart, Mathema, should stop their propaganda for purposes of personal or political
grandeur at the expense of teachers.

“The free warning we want to offer the two is that they will be remembered as the worst ministers ever to be
appointed in their respective ministries and as accomplices to the cold and calculated educational vandalism currently on auto cruise.

“The only panacea to the challenges faced by teachers is for the government to restore the purchasing
power parity of the teachers’ salaries (US$520 as per pre-October 2018 or its equivalent using the prevailing foreign currency auction rate), as well as prioritising the health and safety of teachers.

“Even if the government has to export sewage to get the money for teachers, we don’t care. “What we know
is that this country is endowed with vast natural resources whose benefits should also filter into the teachers’ pockets,” the unions said.

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