PROGRESSIVE Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe yesterday claimed that union leaders were receiving threats from suspected State security agents after they wrote to the Education International (EI), headquartered in Belgium, seeking its intervention in their salary dispute with government.
The letter was sent at a time when President Emmerson Mnangagwa is in that country attending the European Union/Africa Union Summit.
Majongwe said he was one of those being threatened.
He wrote to the EI on Tuesday requesting the global federation of teachers’ trade unions to compel government to adhere to international labour laws to amicably resolve teachers’ grievances.
Teachers and school heads have not been reporting for work since schools opened for the 2022 first term on February 7.
Teachers on strike
They are demanding the pre-October 2018 salary of US$540 and have rejected government’s offer of a 20% pay rise and US$100 cash to be deducted from their local currency component.
In the letter dated February 15, Majongwe said government had refused to sign the International Labour Organisation ILO conventions 151 and 152 that would force it to observe labour rights.
“The EI has responded to our letter and has agreed to meet the Primary and Secondary Education ministry. It promised to deliver a letter to Mnangagwa after getting a clearer picture of what government intends to do with teachers and school heads,” he said.
“It’s sad, however, that the State machinery and overzealous characters are already threatening me for writing to the EI and the ILO. They are accusing me and PTUZ of asking the international organisations to interfere in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs. We, however, dismiss this narrative as the height of ignorance and madness. We are doing our job as a trade union and political players should not put their dirty hands in our efforts to find solutions to the problems we face.”
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro yesterday said: “I am out in the field and am not aware of it (letter). (Besides), we are here to provide quality, relevant and inclusive education.”