Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavhima has warned teachers against engaging in the planned illegal strike which will disrupt the opening of schools next week.
Authorities are watching closely and studying the agenda behind the recent spate of strikes by employees suspecting that they may be politically motivated.
On Friday, the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union issued a statement advising their members to take part in industrial action.
This follows the recent strike by nurses which took a dramatic twist.
Minister Mavhima said schools will open despite the threats of a strike by educators.
“The pressure that these unions are attempting to put on Government should be viewed in the correct context; that of trying to follow the same route taken by doctors and, more recently, nurses.
“As Government we have always engaged unions when it comes to the issues of the welfare of teachers.
“As a matter of fact, we are sitting down with them on Wednesday as part of the ongoing engagement process.”
The minister said unions should understand that Government was working on reviving the economy which will translate to better conditions of service for its workers.
“The unions need to understand that this is a new administration focused on reviving the economy and every patriotic Zimbabwean should work with Government to help in the efforts to revive the economy,” he said.
“This is so because when the economy grows, the working conditions of all workers and not only teachers will gradually improve.
“However, from Government’s side there is little scope for improvement of remuneration because of the financial situation. The Ministry of Finance has no capacity at the moment to improve their salaries.
“The education sector employs the highest number of people in the civil service, which makes it difficult to have a wholesale review of their salaries given the financial problems we are facing.
“The education sector is an essential service such as the health sector, and according to the country’s laws, it is illegal to withdraw a service in that sector.
“This is the message I will tell them when we meet on Wednesday because they cannot hold the whole nation at ransom.
“There are those who are saying schools will not open, engaging in an industrial action and forcing schools to close are two different things.
“It is illegal to forcibly close schools.
“As Government we are giving an express assurance that schools will open.
“Government will take appropriate disciplinary measures against those who will partake in the illegal industrial action.”