Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government yesterday paid teachers their full June salaries, with unions immediately ordering their members to end their three-day strike. Teachers’ unions said they would not stand by anyone who absconds from duty beginning today.
This comes as health workers, who were supposed to be paid on June 14, get their dues today.
The Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) said nurses should immediately report for duty once they get their salaries.
The development flies in the face of anti-Government and quasi-political civic society organisations which sought to capitalise on the civil servants’ plight to foment chaos in the country.
The workers embarked on a strike on Tuesday after Government made an advance payment of $100 for their June salaries.
They said they were incapacitated to report for duty as the advance payment was chewed by the various obligations they had.
Government attributed the late salary payments to cash flow challenges, with Acting Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Supa Mandiwanzira saying the employer would in future ensure civil servants’ commitments are met on time.
“I thank civil servants for the swift reaction,” he said.
“The majority of them continued to carry out their duties despite their challenges. That commitment to the country and profession is humbling.
“Given the difficult circumstances, we appeal for understanding when delays such as currently being experienced are encountered. We look forward to our dialogue with the Apex Council to find ways of improving understanding between Government and its employees.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Mr Richard Gundane said after accessing their salaries yesterday, teachers should return to class today.
“Teachers should be given time today to access their salaries and we are definitely sure that everybody should be able to go back to work tomorrow morning,” he said.
“This strike was largely driven by Government’s failure to pay and now that they have paid, there will be no excuse for anybody failing to report to work. From tomorrow, we do not expect any stories because payments have been availed. Action ends end of day today (yesterday) and its business as usual. Our message to Government is that salaries should be paid on time to avoid this incapacitation. Our place is in the classroom and we want to stay there.”
The industrial action saw schools and hospitals turning away pupils and patients respectively.
Hospitals only attended to emergency cases.
Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Association president Mr Martin Chaburumunda said: “This was a three day industrial action and the message has been sent home. Now we are waiting for July salaries and we will do that while in the classroom. We expect that this month Government will stick to the traditional pay dates. To our members we are saying report for duty and carry out your business as usual, no time to relax.”
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe said: “The most important thing is what we have gotten what we wanted and we are calling it off. Government should now expedite payment of the rest of the civil servants who have not been paid. They must bring forward the dates just as they did on nurses.”
ZINA secretary general Mr Enock Dongo said nurses would also report for duty beginning today.
“As soon as they get paid they should report for duty,” he said.
“What made people fail to go to work was the issue about salaries and once that is done as of tomorrow everyone should be at work. We are sending the circulars to the nurses telling them that. That was the only stumbling block and we do not have any problems with Government. It is just that we had been placed in a tight situation which we could not afford.”