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TEACHERS’ UNIONS FACE REVOLT

By JOHN KOMBE

A PRESSURE group has initiated a protest against the teachers’ unions for alleged inadequate representation of members.

National Movement for Teachers national coordinator, Steward Bwembya, said his organisation would mobilise more than 98 percent of the teachers across the country to stage a protest during the teachers’ day which falls on October 5 this year.

Mr Bwembya said the movement was forming structures across the country to advance its cause.

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He said there was inertia in the labour movement, which has Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT), Professional Teachers Union of Zambia (PROTUZ) and Basic Education Teachers Union of Zambia (BETUZ).

Other unions are Secondary School Teachers Union of Zambia (SESTUZ) National Union of Public and Private Educators of Zambia (NUPPEZ) and the United Teachers Union of Zambia (UNITUZ).

He said teachers would wear black attire on teacher’s day as a sign that they were fed up of the unions’ inertia.

 “Using the Industrial and Labour Relations Act, cap 269 of the laws of Zambia, more than 98 percent teachers in Zambia are now passing a vote of no confidence in all the teachers’ unions in Zambia,” he said.

Mr Bwembya called on all the more than 115, 000 teachers across the country to resign from the unions to bring sanity to the sector.

“As things stand, teachers’ unions are technically dead and the teachers are orphans. After the resignations we will then chart the way forward,” he emphasised.    

He said that the decision which has received overwhelming support from the teachers has been made due to a number of reasons.

Mr Bwemya said there was lack of financial accountability in the unions, lack of support for members’ education, lack of consultation, refusal of unions to give copies of the unions’ constitutions to each member.

Mr Bwembya, who is a teacher at Lamba Day Secondary School in Mushindamo, also lamented that all the unions had failed to represent their members on salary scale upgrades, confirmations, salary increments, work place mistreatment and other anomalies in the sector.

He accused union officials of giving themselves hefty salaries when their members were wallowing in poverty.

“Why must a General Secretary of a union be getting as much as K70, 000 per month when teachers get K5, 000? Is this fair?” he asked.

 He also alleged that the union leaders were in management positions which he said was against the law.

 He said SESTUZ, ZNUT, BETUZ, NUPPEZ, PROTUZ and UNITUZ were all weak.

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