Teachers’ Unions, Government Contradict On Teacher Representation
22 August 2021
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has refuted claims by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education that the ministry represents more teachers than all unions combined.
The ministry’s spokesperson Taungana Ndoro was recently quoted in the press claiming that the ministry represents about two–thirds of teachers who are not affiliated with any trade unions. Ndoro was quoted as saying:
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We welcome all unions that represent teachers for the betterment of the educational system. However, the ministry also represents about two-thirds of the teachers who are not subscribing to any union.
In response to Ndoro's claims, Dr Takavafira Zhou, the president of the Progressive Teachers' Union (PTUZ) criticised the former for belittling the contribution of teachers' unions. Zhou told NewZimbabwe in an interview:
We note with deep concern the continued demeaning of teacher unions by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson, Taungana Ndoro. Fundamentally, Ndoro is trying to water down the importance of unions on the basis of a false pretext that they represent one-third of teachers in Zimbabwe. For the avoidance of doubt, this is a lie. We have 140 000 teachers in Zimbabwe, and for Ndoro to claim that unionized members are 46 666 is a travesty of reality and dangerous misinformation.
Ndoro also makes a dangerous, acidic, arid and toxic assertion that the Ministry has taken a paternalistic approach of representing the majority of teachers (two thirds) that are not unionised. The Big Question, and problem of all problems and evil of all evils is who has appointed Ministry the representative of these teachers? Such misrepresentation of facts and insults of teacher unions cannot be taken lightly.
Turning to teachers' salaries, Zhou urged the government to amend Statutory Instrument 141 of 1997 in line with section 65 of the constitution.
He said the current scenario suggests that the government has so far "been negotiating with itself through the self-appointing Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education,” which is representing some teachers.
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