By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, July 20, 2016 – TEACHERS union groups have dismissed the newly introduced teachers’ code by government, describing it as not only “authoritarian but criminal”.
Teachers say they were never consulted when government sat down to craft the code.
The government, through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, has introduced a new code through which teachers who embark in any industrial action face dismissal, among other penalties.
Teachers have also been barred from running personal businesses or to find themselves in any acts of absenteeism, sleeping while on duty, watching pornography as well as smoking.
The militant Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) has vowed to resist what it says was an attempt by government to muzzle educators’ voices.
“Section 65 of the Zimbabwean constitution states that it is a right to engage in industrial action, but according to reports the gazetted code says an illegal job action is cited as a dismissible offence as well as incitement to strike,” said RTUZ in a statement.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) have also said the new code is an assault to the rights of the country’s hard working teachers saying government had in fact introduced a criminal law.
“Surely no employer can just create a Code of Conduct without engaging his/her employees,” PTUZ posted on its Facebook page.
“Surely not in the 21st century. Whilst at the just ended ILO CONFERENCE government pledged to work with workers in harmonising the laws and the new Constitution. The OPPOSITE is what they have done. They consulted no one.
“The Statutory instrument is simply UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND CRIMINAL.”
Meanwhile, the PTUZ revealed Tuesday the meeting it had with the government proved to be fruitless as the government only distanced itself from the pay dates circulating on social media but did not give specific dates for their July payments.
“Cdes, the meeting turned out to be an update between the Labour Minister, her Deputy, the government Team Leader and the APEX EXECUTIVE. The government side disowned the social media circulated pay dates and instead advised they will release the correct dates before Friday,” PTUZ said.