Govt plans to move teach­ers

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Nqobile Tshili

new law was be­ing abused, es­pe­cially the re­trench­ment pro­vi­sion un­der Sec­tion 12 (C) of the Labour (Amend­ment) Act.

“It takes away the pro­ce­dural bar­ri­ers to re­trench­ment, which pre­vi­ously made re­trench­ment very cum­ber­some in terms of steps the em­ployer had to go through and in terms of re­trench­ment pack­ages,” said Mr Mucheche.

“The le­gal im­pli­ca­tion is that the em­ployer’s right to re­trench and com­pen­sa­tion ap­pli­ca­tion is now a statu­tory po­si­tion, hence se­ri­ous abuse by em­ploy­ers.”

Mr Mucheche said to avoid abuse of the law there was a need for ur­gent amend­ment of the Labour Act to strike a bal­ance be­tween the com­pet­ing in­ter­ests of the work­ers and em­ploy­ers.

“The law should pro­vide for job se­cu­rity, which is a cru­cial is­sue for com­pa­nies to be pro­duc­tive,” he said.

“The ab­sence of job se­cu­rity is counter-pro­duc­tive as it is de­mo­ti­vat­ing to work­ers and the coun­try is faced with loss of skilled labour force.”

An­other labour law ex­pert Mr Tendai Toto, said the com­pany man­age­ment should be held ac­count­able for wrong­ful and reck­less con­duct of poor cor­po­rate man­age­ment that plunge cor­po­rate en­ti­ties into illiq­uid sta­tus. “Cor­po­rate law recog­nised civil li­a­bil­ity claims cred­i­tors (work­ers in­cluded) against com­pany by man­age­ment and di­rec­tors for dam­ages aris­ing from com­plicit acts of com­mis­sion and omis­sion, fraud­u­lent and neg­li­gent busi­ness trad­ing prac­tices that lead to ac­tual and po­ten­tial loss of em­ploy­ment by the work­force and losses to cred­i­tors,” he said.

“While the bur­den of proof is oner­ous in claims of this na­ture, it will take one deter­mined and as­tutest cred­i­tor and share­hold­ers to clean up the mess by tak­ing cor­po­rate man­age­ment to ac­count,” he said.

He said man­age­ment of­ten re­frained from tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity and ac­count­abil­ity on many cor­po­rate down­turns. THE Min­istry of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion has em­barked on an ex­er­cise to re­de­ploy teach­ers, a move aimed at ad­dress­ing staff short­ages.

The Deputy Min­is­ter of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­fes­sor Paul Mav­ima told The Chron­i­cle that the Gov­ern­ment was work­ing on a ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme that will see teach­ers be­ing trans­ferred from schools that are over-staffed to those in need of more ed­u­ca­tors.

He said the process was be­ing con­ducted in con­junc­tion with the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion.

Prof Mav­ima said de­lays in the ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion process for teach­ers were cre­at­ing an il­lu­sion that there is a se­ri­ous short­age of teach­ers in the coun­try.

He said through the ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion process, teach­ers will be re­de­ployed depend­ing on the staffing needs of each school.

“The Gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion is that we’re con­duct­ing a ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion process to iden­tify schools that are over­staffed and those that are un­der­staffed. Col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts be­tween the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion and our min­istry are un­der­way and we’re go­ing to fill th­ese po­si­tions where some schools have teacher short­ages,” Prof Mav­ima.

He said they will be fill­ing up va­can­cies in schools where teach­ers might have left or died.

“What we have is not re­ally a short­age so ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion is nec­es­sary and we need the peo­ple on the ground, the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tors, and the dis­trict ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cers to help in ex­pe­dit­ing the process,” he said.

His sen­ti­ments come at a time when some schools in Mata­bele­land North are op­er­at­ing with skele­tal staff.

For ex­am­ple, Nen­gasha Pri­mary School only opened last week, three weeks af­ter schools opened, with one teacher who dou­bles up as its head­mistress teach­ing the Grade Seven class only.

Par­ents there have been urged to en­gage vol­un­teers to teach their chil­dren from Grade One to Grade Six.

Quizzed on why the school has one teacher and the is­sue of par­ents seek­ing vol­un­teers to teach their chil­dren, Prof Mav­ima said the on­go­ing re­de­ploy­ment will ad­dress that.

“As much as you’re con­cerned, we’re con­cerned also. We re­ally need to move fast so that we can cor­rect th­ese is­sues you’re talk­ing about.

“It is also not a min­istry’s po­si­tion to have par­ents em­ploy­ing vol­un­teer teach­ers. We can’t achieve qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion if vol­un­teers are de­ployed in schools be­cause we won’t be able to con­trol them,” said Prof Mav­ima.

The Gov­ern­ment’s move to re­de­ploy teach­ers comes at a time when the po­lice, the Ju­di­cial Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, the Zim­babwe Rev­enue Au­thor­ity are also re­de­ploy­ing their of­fi­cers.— @nqot­shili.

“Re­trench­ments, lay­offs and salary cuts for mid­dle and ju­nior work­ers are sac­ri­fi­cial ex­cuses em­ployed by man­age­ment as cover up of their own com­plicit, in­com­pe­tence and in­ten­tion­ally wrong in­vest­ment pri­or­i­ties and the lack of vi­sion and due dili­gence,” said Mr Toto.

“Em­ploy­ers through the un­in­formed my­opic and self­ish think­ing by se­nior man­age­ment and com­pany ex­ec­u­tives be­lieve that work­ers are shelf tools of trade that are dis­pos­able with­out due re­gard and recog­ni­tion to the im­por­tance of a mo­ti­vated hu­man cap­i­tal to pro­duc­tiv­ity and prof­itabil­ity.”

With the pre­vail­ing harsh economic cli­mate work­ers bear the agony of poor cor­po­rate gover­nance by top man­agers. Top man­age­ment at some com­pa­nies have con­ducted job eval­u­a­tion with­out the in­volve­ment of em­ploy­ees and went on to down­grade some em­ploy­ees, af­fect­ing their salaries and tak­ing away a host of al­lowances that they had been en­joy­ing.

The July 17, 2015 Supreme Court judg­ment, which al­lowed em­ploy­ers to ter­mi­nate em­ploy­ment con­tracts on three-month no­tice, has pro­vided a per­fect sanc­tu­ary for un­in­formed top man­agers to hide their short­com­ings.

They are con­tent with a mind­set that when things seem to be go­ing in the neg­a­tive, the ob­vi­ous and com­mon “witch is the work­force” who all of a sud­den be­come a li­a­bil­ity to the firm.

A ba­boon strolls along a street in Pu­mula South, Bu­l­awayo, yes­ter­day. Troops of them are in­vad­ing homes in the area in search of food. Story on Page 2 (Pic­ture by Eliah Saushoma)

Pro­fes­sor Paul Mav­ima

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