Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Headmasters’ fury as teachers earn more, demands for review

Zvamaida Murwira Harare Bureau
THERE is disharmony within the civil service following a salary increase effected by government this month which has resulted in some teachers earning more than their headmasters.The gross monthly salary of a senior degreed teacher, who is in grade E1, is pegged at $548 while that of a deputy head in grade D5 is pegged at $530.

The same senior teachers would also earn the same salary as some deputy headmasters in grade E1.

Headmasters and their deputies attending a Zimbabwe Teachers Association conference in the capital said the recent salary increment did not recognise grade, qualification, promotion and experience.

Richard Gundani, the Zimta president and Apex council team leader, said a situation where a headmaster earned less or equal that of his subordinate compromised the spirit and principle of supervision.

Headmasters’ fury as teachers earn more, demands for review
He said the difference between the lowest paid teacher, whose salary stands at $500, is a dollar with the next level, meaning there was no incentive for one to be promoted, better qualified or experienced.

“There is more bunching now after the increment than before. So in our salary scale, we’ve a mix up where some juniors are earning more than their seniors. Some people who were at the bottom received 37 percent and those on the top received 20 percent creating a compression of salary structure,” said Gundani.

He said there was confusion on how the Results-Based Management system was being applied as one could get a performance-based increment before the process of assessment was concluded.

Zimta, he said, would push for the convening of an urgent National Joint Negotiating Council to iron out these issues.

The Apex council, Gundani said, would lobby for the establishment of a Civil Service Employment Council closely linked to the South African model where they conducted a study tour three years ago, together with government representatives.

In South Africa, the council was independent with its own secretariat and budget.

“The National Joint Negotiating Council structure is not strong enough to spearhead the changes that we would want effected. It gives too much power to the government. They’ll have meetings when they want, in their own offices, using their facilities and secretariat of the government. You can’t have equal participation in this process,” said Gundani.
“In South Africa, the negotiating council is independent. What happens is that every member of the civil service contributes some money towards collective bargaining.

“What obtains at the moment is unfair as we’ve a situation where a fewmembers who are unionised are the ones who are sponsoring collective bargaining. That weakens the whole process.”

He said they were “receiving an envelope that has been allocated unilaterally by the Minister of Finance”, whereas what they needed was to have “collective bargaining concluded before the budget so that what we would’ve agreed upon is factored.”

The four-day conference is running under the theme “Quality Teachers, Quality Tools and Quality Environment: A Must for Public Education”.
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