PUBLIC Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said Government held a meeting with teachers’ union representatives on Monday and their demands are impossible to meet.
The teachers want US$520 per month which is more than ten folds the current salary, and accuse Government of treating them like slaves.
Mavima said the economy is recording some positive stability and improvements on the macroeconomic front which the country and the civil service cannot afford to disrupt by demands that torpedo the progression.
Eight teachers’ unions in a joint statement last week pleaded with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene and resolve the chaos in the education sector so that the more than 136 000 teachers who are on strike can go back to their workstations.
The educators are also demanding personal protective equipment to protect themselves and the pupils from contracting COVID-19.
“To the President, (we say) what is happening in the education sector should have moved you by now. Your silence, Your Excellency, is shocking,” the unions said.
“We do not want to believe that you want to be remembered for destroying the education system of this country when you are gone. The teachers need your attention and time for positive intervention is now.”
Sifiso Ndlovu, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, the biggest teacher union in the country said: “It is an illusion to think that you can replace 100 000 by 25 000 teachers and a sign of decay in the education system.
“Teachers have been in slavery for the past 18 months when their salaries and purchasing power were ravaged by currency switching and inflation.
“This level of intolerance is an indictment to the authorities. We are going to resist this with all our might and unshaken resolve.”
The standoff between teachers and government comes as pupils are preparing for final examinations that begin on December 1 after missing classes for almost six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.