ARTUZ hypocrisy exposed

by | Mar 18, 2021 | Opinions | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, a representative body of teachers stationed in rural schools, is spoiling for a fight with the government following their rejection of a government offer of twenty-five per cent cost of living adjustment.
On March 12, 2021, the government convened a National Joint Negotiating Council meeting in Harare with representatives of government workers unions.

Among the resolutions were a twenty-five per cent salary adjustment and a “no work no pay” condition for civil servants.
The Obert Masaraure led ARTUZ has outrightly rejected the salary adjustment offer by the government, while most importantly they have threatened a strike and a possible demonstration over the “no work no pay” clause, and an outrageous demand for restoration of salaries to the US Dollar terms.


Schools have been closed for almost a year due to Covid-19 outbreak.
For this whole period, all teachers received their full salaries without deductions.
Throughout this period, to date, most teachers have engaged in alternative active paid engagements outside their official engagement, while withdrawing their salaries unhindered.

Some have established backyard schools where they offer extra lessons to paying students and pupils, while some have started thriving businesses.

Now that it is time to return to work, have they suddenly recovered that the salaries are not enough?
When they were earning money without any productivity, they were silent, but now it is time to work, have they suddenly identified grievances?

Over the past year, in which there has been minimal academic activity, teachers have been silently getting money.
Now that there is work, they should atone for the money they were getting through meeting Government halfway.
Government has been acting in good faith all along.

If the employee is ready, willing, and able to work, but is prevented from working, by one cause or the other then they are entitled to be paid.

That is the principle of natural justice and the Government followed it.
Among other demands, ARTUZ is demanding the pegging of salaries in US Dollar terms as was the case in 2009.
However, teachers’ unions need to understand that the government is not in a position to pay salaries in foreign currency in a de-dollarized economy.

Government is not collecting taxes in foreign currency as was the case in 2009 and thus cannot afford to pay US Dollars to its employees.

This is a fact that all well-meaning individuals and unions need to pay attention to.
Regrettably, the labour unions in Zimbabwe have become a ladder for political activism by their selfish leaders.
Most labour unions oftentimes find themselves in conflicting situations where they end up pushing the agenda of a political party instead of representing workers’ interests.

It is not a secret that the leadership of ARTUZ is now deeply conflicted, with their president Obert Masaraure and his Secretary-general Robson Chere now eying senior positions in the ZCTU, on its own a fertile training ground for opposition MDC activists since the time of Morgan Tsvangirai.

Peter Mutasa, president of the ZCTU, feels that he has done enough activist’s work to earn him a senior post in the MDC Alliance. His promotion is imminent.

So we see here a group of people calling themselves a teachers’ union, deliberating and negotiating in bad faith.
It is a group which only yearns for a deadlock and subsequent violent confrontation with the government. A group of sponsored activists who have lost the purpose and interests of teachers from their hearts.

It is a group of people who are always itching for a confrontation with the government for their selfish publicity purposes.

Zimbabwe’s labour representative bodies have been infiltrated and hijacked by selfish individuals who are constantly bent on sowing discord, division, and fanning senseless clashes with the government.

This group has no interest in solving real issues affecting teachers and it is high time teachers begin to question if their membership in this body is worth it.

The ”no work no pay” phenomenon is not a new or peculiar labour practice to the Zimbabwean labour market.
World over workers are paid for hours clocked. Otherwise, no clocking means no pay. It is only fair and in the interest of natural justice.

If teachers do not show up to work, they should not get a cent.

They cannot hold the whole country to ransom, Zimbabwe is bigger than a few hooligans masquerading as union leaders.