Teachers bemoan placement under president’s office

HARARE – The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) has challenged the placement of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) under the office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), arguing the move is meant to capture the Public Service.

This comes after Information ministry’s permanent secretary George Charamba said the Labour and Social Welfare ministry now falls under the OPC.

“Media organisations are reminded that the old ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare has been reconfigured to ministry of Labour and Social Welfare,” Charamba said, adding “the Civil Service now falls under the OPC and that includes all Public Service Training Institutions and the Zimbabwe Institute for Public Administration.”

In reaction, Artuz said: “By placing the CSC under the office of the president, the Mnangagwa regime is effectively seeking ways to directly spy on public sector unions and thus undermine collective bargaining principles and militarise negotiation processes.”

“This move undermines principles of good public administration as set out in the Constitution. It is our submission that the process is designed to capture and militarise the Public Service as part of a broad and calculated move to control public sector workers,” the organisation said.

It further said that the ideal scenario would be to allow the CSC to be a stand-alone commission, independent from direct control of government. The organisation also said that this would enable the government and its workers to freely engage on improving working conditions and salaries.

“Thus, the recent move has no basis either at law or in the best interest of the workers. Examples of countries with the best public service practices like Canada show that government has minimal intervention.

“Closer to home, the Botswana model is proof that when there is minimal government involvement, decent work in the public workplace can be a reality,” Artuz said.

According to the organisation, the current move comes at a time when Artuz and other public sector unions have declared that they will in 2018 escalate the fight for a living wage, challenge the 7,5 percent pension contributions and cancellation of vacation leave.

“As a union we are consulting with our legal teams and membership to craft a multi-pronged response to this manifestly illegal move by Mnangagwa’s government.

“We further reiterate our readiness to organise and democratise the public sector working place, more so in rural schools,” the organisation said. – Daily News