The re-opening of schools has been thrown into disarray after the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) declared its members incapacitated to report for duty.
Government recently announced the resumption of schools for Ordinary and Advanced level students who are sitting for their final examinations with lessons expected to commence on September 28.
However, in a circular, ZIMTA declared incapacitation citing salary disparities between their members and other public servants among other grievances.
"Teachers have been hard hit by economic decline since the adoption of RTGS as an official currency. As a result the living conditions of teachers are now unparalleled to anything human. Worsening the plight of teachers is the COVID-19 environment.
"The ZIMTA National Executive declaration of incapacitation cites the following concerns. Concerned that the economy has self-dollarized and transport fares are now charged in United States dollars and Rands in most routes. Worried that the teachers' salaries have been eroded to an equivalent of between US$30- US$35
"Appalled by the wide and unjustified disparities in basic salaries between teachers and other public servants, Concerned on the continued rise in the cost of living, Concerned that schools, rentals, medical insurance, funeral insurance and clothing are now out of reach for the educators, disturbed by the unilateral pronouncement of opening of schools dates without consultation of other stakeholders, and concerned for the safety of teachers since most schools lack COVID-19 preparedness." said ZIMTA
ZIMTA said after consultations teachers will not be able to report for duty as they are incapacitated.
"After a wide consultation of all our forty two thousand (42 000) members across all ten of the country's provinces, the ZIMTA National Executive hereby declares that all educators will not be able to report for duty on the 28th of September 2020 for opening of schools as they are incapacitated."
The teachers are calling for the implementation of World Health Organisation guidelines against COVID-19 and restoration of the purchasing power parity of teachers' salaries to US$520.
They are also clamoring for the implementation of meaningful sector specific allowances which consider teachers status and responsibilities and payment of COVID-19 allowances that are results of a negotiation process instead of through the benevolence of His Excellency, The President.
Unless the above conditions are met, ZIMTA says "educators remain incapacitated and hence willing but unable to report for duty."