Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou has warned Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu would invite a bruising court battle with the restive educators if she went ahead to deliver suspension letters on individual teachers as announced Thursday.
This follows a blanket three-month suspension with no pay decreed on all ministry of education employees who have absented themselves from duty against order by authorities to resume work.
The majority of the employees are teachers who have vowed not to go back to work if government did not heed their demands to restore their US dollar wages.
Teachers groups place the number of those who have been affected by the mass suspensions at 135 000.
But Zhou, in a statement, has insisted the order was unlawful, adding that the union will stand by any member who is individually served with a suspension letter.
The firebrand union leader insists teachers are not on strike but cannot finance fares and other requirements to go to work.
He added, “We encourage the minister to respect the law of the land and not to make glaring legal errors and thereby creating a legal lacuna.
“What offence have teachers really committed? Is it an offence to remind an employer that has unilaterally reduced teachers’ salaries to restore the US$540?
“As Ptuz, we are ready to take the legal route once any of our members receives a suspension letter.”
Zhou called on teachers under his union to remain calm and approach the union for assistance if need be.
“We urge our members to remain calm but to get in touch with nearest union leaders once you receive a suspension letter,” he said,
“We urge heads of schools that the incapacitation struggle is an inclusive struggle that also affect school heads.
“Never be abused by a system that has also incapacitated you. As Ptuz, we will never accept the taking of labour laws to the Colonial Master and Servant Act.
“We certainly cannot move the clock back to the Rhodesian Front, 42 years after independence.
“We will defend the liberation legacy in terms of defending fair labour practice and monumental justice.”
The wage row between government and teachers has been going on for year with little to no remedies put in place by authorities.