HARARE – The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) and Progressive Teachers’ Union (PTUZ) have refused to recognise the National Joint Negotiations Council (NJNC) meeting proposed by government citing that it is bogus.
Speaking during a press conference at Africa Unity Square in Harare yesterday, Artuz president Obert Masaraure and PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe slammed government for trying to silence the civil servants’ collective job action through and NJNC meeting.
“We have noted government’s intention to convene the NJNC in an attempt to salvage an imminent civil servants collective job action,” said the unions in a joint statement. We come here at a time when the government is running away from the workers, so yesterday (Monday) the government convened what was supposed to be a negotiating forum but turned out to be a rally, and after them failing to reach an agreement they are now convening an illegal meeting through NJNC,” Majongwe said.
He argued that the NJNC is not representative of all unions as it only allows nine unions to partake in the meeting through the Apex Council while Zimbabwe has more
than 20 registered unions.
In a joint statement, Artuz and PTUZ said section 65 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for a Collective Bargaining as a fundamental right of the working people.
“However, nearly six years after the adoption of the Constitution, government has dragged its feet with regard to establishing this body, opting for maintaining the exclusive, narrow, minimalist and unconstitutional NJNC route,” read the statement.
“We note that Statutory Instrument 141 of 1997 Public Service (Joint Negotiating Council) regulations is ultra vires to section 65 of the Constitution.
“Artuz and PTUZ thus distance themselves from both the process and the would-be outcomes of the NJNC.”
The unions stressed that teachers have not yet engaged on collective job action or strike of any kind, but they are however, currently incapacitated to return to their work stations as their incomes have been eroded by increases in the cost of basic services.
“We demand that government pays teachers’ salaries in USD, 2018 annual bonus payment in full, adequate learning material and scrapping of 2 percent punitive tax,” they said.
Majongwe said there is absolutely nothing political about the current impasse between government and civil servants, but there is need for government to listen and respect citizens.
“Unions do not remove governments, we are not fighting Zanu PF or Mnangagwa, all we want is a fair dialogue that yields results,” Majongwe said.