Teachers unions have distanced themselves from a salary deal that was agreed and signed between the government and the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) on Monday.
This comes after it emerged that more than 50 school heads and 32 teachers had been suspended after they stayed away from work citing incapacitation.
On Monday, government announced that it had met with the Apex Council in the NJNC, where the union leaders signed the agreement sealing a recent salary deal that includes a 20% wage increase.
But teachers unions said they were not part of the deal.
“We were not involved,” Progressive Teachers Unions of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said.
“Government, as usual, met with its praise singers in Apex Council, whose hands are greased by personal emoluments in parastatals where they are board members. It’s a travesty and insult to teachers for such people to misrepresent civil servants for personal gain. All civil servants are angry and apprehensive and no amount of lies and brutality can outstrip their anger.”
In a statement, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) said: “Artuz has noted the manufactured agreement between the government of Zimbabwe, who is our employer, and the Apex Council, that purports to represent workers unions.”
Tapedza Zhou, president of the Educators Union of Zimbabwe, said the “PSC [Public Service Commission] should stop manipulating the NJNC by congesting it with pseudo unions”.
“The results are there for everyone to see why NJNC should incorporate genuine unions and hate self-intoxication. Real negotiations are proceeding outside the NJNC,” Zhou said.
But Apex Council secretary-general David Dzatsunga said teacher representatives that professed ignorance of the salary deal were not part of NJNC.
“The PTUZ and Artuz are not part of the Apex Council because they opted not to belong to the organisation out of their own will,” he said.
“So those members, who have opted out of the NJNC, cannot negotiate with the employer. That explains why the same members will not be able to sit down with the government for salary negotiations.
Teachers have been on strike since schools reopened on February 7, 2021, leading to government threatening to suspend the striking educators on Tuesday last week.
Zimbabwe National Union of School Heads secretary-general Munyaradzi Majoni yesterday told NewsDay that almost 50 school heads and teachers had been suspended countrywide.
Service Commissions secretary Jonathan Wutawashe confirmed to NewsDay that some school heads had been suspended.