via Zimta warns of teachers wages riot – NewZimbabwe 25/12/2015
ZIMBABWE’S largest teachers representative group has warned of impending unrest among its unpaid members adding it will not be held accountable for any riotous action taken to force the payment of their dues.
For the first time in years, Zimbabwe’s civil servants are spending their Christmas without receiving their monthly pays, let alone their annual bonuses.
In a press statement Thursday, Zimbabwe Teachers Union (Zimta) secretary general John Mulilo said government had stretched teachers’ patience rather too far.
“Following the national executive meeting held on the 20th of December 2015,” said the teachers group in a statement also published in a local daily, “the Zimbabwe teachers Association (Zimta) wishes to advise all its stakeholders, that they shall not be held responsible for the actions of educators in January 2016.”
Zimta cited “uncertainty about the December 2015 bonus pay dates” and “the reluctance by government to act on a presidential directive for to pay civil servants their 13th cheque.”
Later on, in a telephone interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Mulilo said his association will not be obliged to control the anger of its membership.
“We blame government and we are saying if you don’t address this issue, a situation will come when people will spontaneously react and break windows…we are warning you on what is likely to happen.
“We want to say, look let us avoid a situation where the members will feel or react spontaneously and we know the pressures that can steer up or cause spontaneous reaction.
“This is what we are indicating to government that if you don’t create certainty in this issue, it is likely to culminate in a spontaneous reaction and we can see it coming, please take note.”
In its statement, Zimta said members had had enough of government imposed deductions on their salaries, a situation which has lessened
their disposable incomes.
Said the group, “…the intention by government to introduce further deductions in the form of national health schemes, maternity schemes, etc on educators’ meagre earnings, a thing that has been totally rejected as the existing meagre incomes cannot sustain any more deductions.
“Furthermore educators are only dejected that for the first time in many years, they shall spend Christmas Holiday without receiving salaries.
“… but they are also demoralised by the employer’s processes and promises made without any defined time frames. The workers’ rights have been infringed upon.”
The teachers group, usually viewed as the more moderate of the two major teachers’ unions in the country, signed off with a firm “WE DEMAND ACTION. PAY US NOW”.
Zimta’s statement follow similar threats by the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou who last week threatened a more robust action by teachers.
“As a trade unionist, if what the employer has communicated to employees, we are expecting our bonus and we will give government up to January 2016 to pay our bonuses,” he told NewZimbabwe.com.
“If the government fails then it would have done nothing other than urinating upon the civil servants and we will take appropriate action.
“As employees, we don’t mind where the government will get money. Even if they are to borrow it from Satan, we want our bonuses to be paid after doing a lot of good and hard work with so little.”
Finance minister Chinamasa on Christmas Day, however, indicated that December salaries will be paid in January.