Rural teachers’ union labels negotiating forum as elitist

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Unions of Zimbabwe(ARTUZ)  has come guns blazing over the  recently launched Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) saying it seeks to make welfare negotiations elitist.

Recently, President Emmerson Mnangagwa enacted the Tripartite Negotiating Forum into law which many experts have hailed as progressive but according to ARTUZ in a statement read by its gender secretary Moreblessing Madambi at a press conference in Harare on Wednesday, government has a ploy to make negotiations elitist through the forum.

“The government is seeking to make negotiations more elitist through the Tripartite Negotiating Forum.

“The forum will obviously co-opt other sections of the working class but excluding the majority of genuine worker representatives,” argued the association.

The forum has since 1998 existed as a voluntary and unlegislated platform for social dialogue in Zimbabwe and its enactment  into law has been cited as a potential utility  for the socio-economic development of the country if be fully-harnessed

The rural teachers’ unions had no kind words regarding the negotiations between government and other sister teachers’ unions.

“The marjority  of our sister unions are still trapped under the misguided hope that negotiations under the warped National Joint Negotiating Council(NJNC) will yield positive results.

“To us the NJNC is both illegitimate and dysfunctional,” asserts ARTUZ.

The association recently held a job action from 3-5 June and is planning on another nationwide strike despite that some of its members were harassed .

“We recently held a very successful job action and hence we have seen teachers now being forced to complete unpaid leave forms under the apartheid law of ‘no work, no pay’, the union’s Mashonaland West chairperson Munyaradzi Ndawana   claimed.

ARTUZ has unequivocally demanded its dues be paid in United States Dollar or be pegged according   to the prevailing interbank rate   and it will not relent hence the call for a nationwide strike.

Turning to the allegations by the state media that ARTUZ leader Obert Masaraure could have stage-managed his abduction claims, the association’s gender secretary Moreblessing   Madambi vehemently scoffed at state media  for peddling lies.