Zimbabwe: Artuz Response to the Outcome of the 13 November NJNC Meeting

15 November 2020
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The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ, rejects both the process and the outcome of the NJNC meeting of 13 November 2020. The negotiating process was fatally flawed and the outcome failed to meet the legitimate expectations of our members.

Process

Zimbabwe's cabinet made a formal announcement of the outcome of the NJNC meeting before the meeting was convened. The NJNC was only convened to clarify the nature of the announced package. The workers side was only invited to rubber stamp a deal that was produced without the input of the workers. The conduct by government severely undermined the role of organised labour in collective bargaining.

The NJNC itself is an illegal entity established through a statutory instrument which is ultra vires to the supreme law of Zimbabwe, the constitution. SI 141 of 1997 only provides for collective begging which in sharp contrast to the right to collective bargaining provided for in section 65 of Zimbabwe's constitution.

The APEX council which is supposed to represent the workers' side is composed of a leadership which imposed itself and whose fraudulent terms of offices have since expired. A group of imposters led by Cecilia Alexander continue to masquerade as leaders of all public service workers. The masquerades have turned into negotiations entrepreneurs as they pocket allowances from both NJNC and Tripartite Negotiations Forum, TNF.

We call for the realignment of labour laws to comply with the new constitution and the establishment of a sector specific negotiating platform. Education sector workers should be allowed to independently represent themselves in negotiations. The current hybrid structure is flawed and denies us an opportunity to push for sector specific issues.

The current APEX council leadership structure must be urgently dissolved and the body be completely disbanded.

Outcome

The government failed to restore the value of our USD 520 salaries which were illegally slashed through currency reforms. The majority of teachers who populate the D1 grade will be getting a total monthly income of ZWL 19 975.00.

1. Total package = ZWL$19975.00

Salary + Housing + Transport =ZWL8524.00 +ZWL1247.00 + ZWL1164.00 = ZWL$10935 but

Bonus = Salary + Housing + Transport, this therefore means that

Bonus = ZWL$10935!

SO BONUS IS JUST ABOVE 50% OF THE TOTAL PACKAGE (It is only 54.74%). To add salt to injury, the 54.74% will be paid in December!

2. The total package is inclusive of the COVID-19 allowance of $6125 which will end to be paid in December 2020. After December, the total package will be

$19 975 - $6125 = $13850 only!

3. The average housing cost is US$50 / month. This is 50 x 81 = ZWL$4050. Housing allowance is pegged at ZWL$1247.00. The difference is 4050-1247 = ZWL$2803. Where will it (ZWL$2803) come from? Average transport cost per day per person is US$2. For the whole month, it becomes 22 working days x US$2 = US$44 / person. What about commuting fares for school children, etc?

4. Teachers who were recruited with National Certificates are not eligible for the 10% COVID 19 allowance meant for teachers. The majority of these teachers are now degree holders but they were not regraded. Government has frustrated attempts by these teachers to be regraded.

Demands

The bonus must be 100% of the total package!

A clear position from the employer on the 'future salary' after the COVID-19 allowance is gone.

Justification/ explanation on how the transport and housing allowances were arrived at.

Sincere negotiations

AND ABOVE ALL, US$520!!

COVID 19 allowance for all teachers and aides of teachers with disabilities.

Teachers remain incapacitated and will not be reporting for duty! We are organising parents to join us on the streets demanding the right to education for our 4.6 million learners. We have since launched an online petition under the #SaveOurEducationZW campaign. Physical petitions will be circulated in all districts in Zimbabwe.

We note threats supposedly issued by government through the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, ZIMTA in their NJNC report. We will not be intimidated by such threats, we have suffered for too long as teachers. We reiterate our position, " Better to starve fighting than to starve working."

Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers Association Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)

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