Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Secretary General Raymond Majongwe has dismissed claims by the government that a third hand is behind their push for better working conditions, charging that there is nothing political about their planned national strike.
The government, a couple of days ago, expressed worry over what it said were political undertones in the statements made by the striking workers.
Speaking at a joint press briefing with the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) in Harare today, Majongwe said teachers have no intention to unseat the President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government through protest.
"There is nothing political about the actions being put across by the workers, there is nothing political. We are not attacking Zanu PF. We are not fighting Zanu PF. What we are we saying is can Zanu PF make sure that they provide work, they provide an enabling environment, they give their workers money, and we do the rest, we teach your children and the country moves forward. That is what all teachers are saying," Majongwe said.
The two unions added that they will not recognize any resolutions the government and the Apex Council reaches in their current engagement as long as there are no representatives from their camps.
Majongwe accused the government of selling civil servants a dummy by handpicking only nine representatives from the 21 registered unions.
"Government under the second republic has continued to register a plethora of organizations. We have 21 trade unions that are representing civil servants in Zimbabwe now. But of the 21 unions that are registered only nine people can go and negotiate with the government and those nine are handpicked they select them. The government decides who leads the Apex Council and that is a tragedy... .
"As far as we are concerned what the government wants to do with the National Joint Negotiation Council is a legal nullity. Because the other organizations that have been registered cannot even attend the negotiation processes."
Majongwe described teachers' situation and workers across the board as deplorable urging the government to institute genuine dialogue platforms.
"The most important point here is the teachers' demands are legitimate and we are not going back because somebody wants us to go back. What ARTUZ did walking from Mutare to Harare and the picketing that is happening at Mthuli Ncube's office are all legitimate demands and no body must be prosecuted for it," he said.
Yesterday the Public Service Commission (PSC) met with workers representatives; the Apex Council, but failed to reach a consensus with its striking workers.