Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ is battling a lone war it appears, as other Teacher worker’s unions have not taken a bold decision on the July 22 strike called for by ARTUZ.
In a released statement issued yesterday, ARTUZ said its members are already winding up on their activities in schools, and will by end of day on Monday close their term work.
“Our district leaders have gathered that teachers are now winding off the term across the country and are set to permanently leave for early holiday by end of day today,” reads the statement.
ARTUZ, last week called for the government to review teachers’ salaries and allowances, in light of the harsh economic challenges faced by teachers. The Union demanded that teachers be paid an interbank equivalent of US$500 or risk a strike starting on the 22nd of July.
It is, however, the silence and official support, by other teacher worker’s bodies that have left ARTUZ fighting a lone battle.
There was no official support for the 22 July strike from Zimbabwe Teachers Association, ZIMTA.
When SADCNews asked ARTUZ National President, Obert Masaraure, on why other workers unions like ZIMTA were not part of the united front, Masaraure pointed that ZIMTA is part of the APEX Council and for that reason, it was not participating.
In a veiled attack on those not participating in the 22 July call, Masaraure said the war is for the teachers and by teachers and not union bosses.
“This war will be won by ordinary teachers, not by Union bosses on the government payroll, said Masaraure.
There have been clashes in the past, over some union representatives who are failing to advance the cause of teachers. This has affected a united voice in representing issues demanded by the teachers.
No official support again came for the 22 July strike, from the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, PTUZ, another teachers’ union.
Raymond Majongwe, the PTUZ militant leader, on Saturday, said the call for an early holiday by teachers were true, he revealed this, without elaborating on whether the 22 July date, called for by ARTUZ was the closing day.
“Teachers are clear schools will surely close early this term. This is no longer just a threat. Maybe someone will now listen,” warned Majongwe.
ARTUZ is, however, taking its courage not from other teacher’s unions, but from the worker’s mother body in the country, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, ZCTU.
Last Friday, the ZCTU Secretary General, Japhet Moyo, released a statement fully backing the stance by ARTUZ in pushing to improve the welfare of teachers.
“The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) fully backs the efforts of THE Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) to improve the welfare and conditions of teachers in Zimbabwe. It is a fact that teachers are now incapacitated and can no longer render services because they are getting pittance as pay,” noted Moyo.
The support by ZCTU, said Masaraure, was an alliance needed to win the war against the impoverishment of teachers, and he urged other civil servants to join the battle.
“ARTUZ welcomes the support from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, ZCTU during this phase of our battle of a living wage. This marks the beginning of an enduring alliance in the struggle for labour justice. We call upon all Civil servants to take a leaf from the teachers and join us as we demand a living wage from our employer,” said ARTUZ President.
It remains to be seen if the strike called ARTUZ will yield results, the call has failed to get the support from other teacher workers unions, an indication that teachers are divided amongst themselves.
SADCNews Zimbabwe Correspondent