Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Cain Mathema, has said the government cannot be held to ransom by teachers who have embarked on a strike since schools reopened for examination grades on Monday.
Speaking at a post-cabinet media briefing held on Tuesday in Harare, Mathema said Government has put around 10 000 qualified, but unemployed, teachers on standby to replace those that are holding the State to ransom by engaging in an illegal industrial action. Said Mathema:
Negotiations between Government and its workers are ongoing and we hope that they will soon find common ground to improve the lives of civil servants.
Some teachers might want to hold the Government to ransom by not reporting for duty waiting for the completion of these negotiations. What we are saying is that learners have not been going to school since March and the Government will not allow a situation where they continue to be disadvantaged.
We have at least 10 000 teachers who are unemployed and if the crunch comes, we will be left with no option but to quickly employ some of those teachers. Schooling has to go on and we will employ if there is a need to.
Mathema Government has released a school calendar which will see primary and secondary schools closed in December with learners proceeding to the next level in 2021.
Major teacher unions in the country, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), have all declared that their members are incapacitated and will not be reporting for duty until Government avails personal protective equipment (PPEs).