Gwanda Student Takes Teachers To Court Over Industrial Action
30 August 2021
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A learner at Mafuko Primary School in Gwanda district in Matabeleland South has
approached the High Court on an urgent basis seeking an order barring teachers in public
schools from embarking on an industrial action over poor salaries and working conditions.

In papers before the court, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta), Zimbabwe
Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ), Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), the chairperson of the
Public Service Commission, Dr Vincent Hungwe, Primary and Secondary Education
Minister Cain Mathema, Minister of Public Service, Labour and social Welfare Professor
Paul Mavima and Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube,
were cited as respondents.

The application follows the recent threats by teachers not resume work when schools
reopen for the second term in the event their demands for better working conditions are
not met by the Government.

Teachers are demanding that Government pay them US$550 or its equivalent in local
currency.

In her founding affidavit, Ms Nyathi said the actions of the cited teacher unions and their
members to refuse to take up classes over salary grievances and improved working
conditions teachers coupled with the non-intervention of the Government constitutes a
violation of the children’s rights to education as enshrined in sections 75 and 81 of the
country’s Constitution.

She wants the teachers’ unions together with their members interdicted from boycotting
classes with all teachers being directed to report for duty within 48 hours of the granting
of the order.

“I further seek ancillary relief to the effect that the Government be ordered and mandated
to provide teaching staff to ensure that there would be no interruption of teaching services
or classes in all public primary and secondary schools in Zimbabwe so that the rights of
the children are not violated,” said Ms Nyathi.

The applicant said in the event that the teachers refuse to comply, Government should be
directed to take all measures to ensure that there is no interruption of classes in all public
schools.

Government recently warned that teachers going on strike will be fired or at the very least
face suspension of pay after activation of systems to track the malpractices.

It is standard labour practice around the world that striking workers are not paid, even
when their strike is considered legal. Those whose strike is legal cannot be fired for not
attending work, but are still not paid while away.

-State Media