Government fires teachers over absenteeism

Artuz president Obert Masaraure said the charges being laid against the three teachers in question were flimsy.

GOVERNMENT has fired three teachers over alleged absenteeism for a period of six months in 2021.

The three teachers that have been fired are affiliated to the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz).

In February last year, the Public Service Commission (PSC) said it was going ahead with plans to replace teachers who defied its ultimatum to report for work without the option of re-engagement in future.

More than 22 000 teachers and headmasters were investigated for failing to report for work while 1 220 were suspended.

In a circular dated January 16, 2023 to a Maboke Secondary School teacher Edwin Mudara by the Midlands province education director James Machimbira, the respondent was accused of absenteeism for 160 days and was dismissed with immediate effect.

“The disciplinary authority has considered your case and acting in terms of section 46 (1) (b) of the public service regulations 2000, as amended, found you guilty by your own admission in the hearing of violating paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the first schedule (section 2) in that you absented yourself from duty from 28 September 2020 to 14 March 2021, a total of 160 days.

“In terms of section (46) (3)(a) and (b) of the same regulations as read with section 50(1) paragraph (a) of the already mentioned regulations, you are hereby discharged  from service with effect  from 14 March 2021, the last day  of absence indicated in your charge letter,” read the circular.

Another different circular addressed to Gerald Tavengwa of Mapfungautsi Secondary School read: “You neglected and disadvantaged learners of their right to education by not rendering service for a long period of time.  This indicated that you were not committed to your work.

“In view of the above  and acting in terms of section 46 (3)(a) and (b) of the regulations as read with section 50 (1), paragraph (a) of the same regulations cited herein, you are hereby discharged from the public service with effect from after duty on 9 November 2022.”

In response, Artuz president Obert Masaraure said the charges being laid against the three teachers in question were flimsy.

Masaraure said they are being victimized for their affiliation to Artuz.

“The members of the Union are being punished by a vindictive employer for exercising their freedom of association. Artuz is a legally recognised entity, which is employing constitutional means to fight for labour justice for teachers. The employer has vowed to decimate the union through arrests, suspensions and termination of contracts,” Masaraure said.

“We are appealing against the unfair dismissals of our members. We are also writing formal complaints to the International Labour Organization, ILO and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, (Zhrc.)”

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