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TEACHERS UPROAR – as movement demands dissolution of all unions

By SIMON MUNTEMBA

TEACHERS’ unions are facing an uncertain future after a breakaway team yesterday petitioned the Labour Commissioner to deregister them for allegedly mismanaging contributions of their members.

A newly formed group, called National Revolutionary Movement for Teachers (NRMT), yesterday staged a protest in Lusaka, demanding the dissolution of all the seven teacher unions in the country.

In an interview, the movement’s interim chairperson, Mr Misheck Kakungu said teachers were protesting against the “inept” unions for alleged inadequate representation of members.

Mr Kakungu also said the teachers were protesting against lack of transparency and accountability on income and expenditure by the unions.

He named the unions that teachers wanted to be dissolved as the Zambia National Union of Teachers, Secondary School Teachers Union of Zambia, Basic Education Teachers Union of Zambia, and Professional Teachers Union of Zambia.

Others are National Union for Public and Private Educators of Zambia, United Teachers Union of Zambia and the Special Education Teachers Union of Zambia.

He said the majority of the teachers in Zambia represented by one of these unions no longer wish to recognise them due to their “catastrophic” representation.

“There has been an uproar from teachers across the country who are calling for complete dissolution of all unions because some leaders have turned these labour movements into business for personal gains. That is why it was unanimously agreed by several teachers from all the 10 provinces to petition the dissolution of these unions,” he said  Mr Kakungo accused the unions of unrestrained abrogation of the provisions of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act by their alleged ineffectiveness in addressing the challenges faced by teachers across the nation such as failure to conduct workers’ education for members.

“They failed to represent teachers on issues relating to members’ entitlements, remunerations, responsibility and double class allowances, confirmations, upgradings, transfers and promotions and many other issues relating to their welfare,” he said.

But United Teachers Union of Zambia executive president, Paul Chipimo has refuted the allegations saying Mr Kakungu’s movement has never visited their office to raise concerns.

Mr Chipimo also said the movement group consisted of frustrated people who lost elections and wanted to get into offices using wrong means.  “If they genuinely have any grievance, they should have come to my office.  We negotiated for the 12 percent salary increment and how can they claim that we have failed? 

“They have never been to the union offices but busy making noise in the streets. These are the people who lost elections and they want to find ways and means of fighting the legally established union leadership,” Mr Chipimo said

He said he together with other union leaders would issue a comprehensive statement to respond to the petition by the movement.

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