By Trevor Makonyonga
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has roped in international trade unions in engaging government over their concerns.
In a letter addressed to the World Federation of Trade Unions and other trade unions, ARTUZ said that the crisis in Zimbabwe is worsening.
“Please receive the warm greetings from the working class and peasants in Zimbabwe who are suffering repression from the parasitic bourgeoisie which is in control of the state machinery. Comrades, the political, economic and social crisis in Zimbabwe is escalating at an alarming rate. The regime is using the state apparatus to kidnap and torture political activists, journalists, civil society leaders and ordinary Zimbabweans who are questioning the failure of government to pay government employees or provide basic services.
“With many members of the police, army and even the Central Intelligence Organisation now reluctant to continue using violence against their own people, a special unit recruited from the most brutal elements of the police and army known as the ‘Ferrets’ is now trying to hunt down trade unionists and other activists.”
The union also raised alarm on security issues concerning their leadership.
“The President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Comrade Peter Mutasa, the President of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), Comrade Obert Masaraure and ARTUZ Secretary-General, Comrade Robson Chere have only recently come out of hiding and are having to be very cautious with their movements.
“Comrades are not afraid to appear before the courts to face charges levelled against them. What they fear is what will happen to them once they are in police cells. Many have been brutalised after their arrest. Comrade Obert Masaraure has twice been seriously beaten and on one occasion stripped naked and left for dead.” ARTUZ said.
The teachers also called for the US sanctions on Zimbabwe to be dropped as they have been used as scapegoats to justify looting.
The letter reads, “As much as we urge Comrades to lobby their respective governments to engage with the government of Zimbabwe over the continuing brutality, we also want to urge that sanctions against Zimbabwe by the USA and its allies be dropped. It is a finger behind which the ZANU(PF) government hides behind in order to vindicate looting and incompetence. ARTUZ further demands the ending of all sanctions against Zimbabwe and the convening of a National Economic Dialogue in Zimbabwe to discuss the rebuilding of tour economy. It can never be correct to have young Zimbabweans crossing the borders to neighbouring countries seeking employment at a time when the global crisis of capitalism is affecting all our neighbouring countries and indeed most of the world.”
Meanwhile, ARTUZ has declared incapacitation citing meagre salaries.
In a letter addressed to the Public Service Commission the teachers said that they could not go back to their work station as they didn’t have means to do so.
The letter read, “This letter serves to inform you that ARTUZ members we are incapacitated to report back for duty and survive in this harsh economic climate heightened by Covid-19.
“Exam classes are supposed to commence on September 28. We can no longer afford transport to our duty stations, to buy basic foodstuffs, pay rentals, water and electricity bills and other essential services now priced in USD.”
They further requested that their salaries be reviewed in US dollars.
“We request an urgent review of our salaries in United States Dollars or local currency equivalent at the prevailing interbank rate (with a monthly review) from the government. We urge the employer to come up with an urgent solution to avert our situation.”