Sharp divisions rock Striking Zimbabwe teachers unions

Raymond Majongwe

THE Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) yesterday hit back at its counterparts who last week accused it of selling out when it held secret meetings with President Emmerson Mnangagwa where they allegedly agreed on a minimum wage of US$320, down from US$520.

In a statement yesterday, Zimta dismissed the allegations levelled against it by its sister unions such as the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz), who described it as a union that failed to represent the teachers’ grievances during negotiations.

The teachers’ unions had made a joint request to meet Mnangagwa over teachers’ remuneration, but Zimta on Monday last week reportedly secretly met Mnangagwa without the knowledge of other unions.

In a statement, Zimta reaffirmed its commitment to serving the interests of the teachers, describing Artuz and the PTUZ as “briefcase teachers unions-cum-political parties whose main agenda was to drag Zimta’s name into the mud”.

“As bona fide members would know, ours is a professional union for professional teachers whose main aim is teaching not politics or gambling or smear campaigns,” Zimta said.

“Zimta is a legend in the game of trade unionism. Not only do we lead in terms of membership, but our ideas and strategies have kept trade unionism alive for the past 80 years in Zimbabwe.”

Zimta also described PTUZ and Artuz as “political projects” which had no significant membership throughout the country and called on the two teachers union to join it

“Zimta is the official leading trade union of choice, practically delivering on teachers’ needs and welfare issues and practical labour matters,”it said

Teachers have been on strike since schools reopened for examination classes in September after salary negotiations between the government and teachers hit a deadlock.

Apex Council will meet today with government to deliberate on the civil servants remuneration.