Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) says it remains committed to collaborative discussions with government in resolving some of the grievances regarding teachers’ conditions of service and has stressed the urgent need to set up a Collective Bargaining Council to replace the National Joint Negotiating Council.

ZIMTA is hosting its 37th annual general meeting (AGM) in Victoria Falls with restoration of vacation leave, collective bargaining and salaries review high on the agenda.

According to the association’s executive, the new dispensation has instilled hope among the professionals with expectations that teachers’ grievances will be resolved through collaborative discussions.

ZIMTA chief executive officer, Mr Sifiso Ndlovu said there is no fixed position yet on the proposed industrial action adding that the association is willing to engage government in coming up with workable solution to the teachers’ concerns.

“Our decision will depend on collaborative discussions. There is no fixed position as we speak. As teachers we are ready to engage government so that we can avert a crisis,” he said.

The 37th ZIMTA AGM being hosted by Manicaland Province Chapter will see delegates coming up with the Victoria Falls Declaration.

Manicaland Province Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa stressed the need for a motivated and productive workforce adding the new political order prioritises collaborative engagements.

“I will inform the responsible authorities of some of the issues raised here which are genuine. We are glad that our President is a listening president and l have confidence that the issues will be resolved through dialogue,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.

Representatives of teacher associations from regional countries which include Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Kenya and Zambia gave solidarity messages urging the government of Zimbabwe and ZIMTA to always prioritise dialogue.

As part of proposals put forward during the meeting, government has been urged to put in place a Collective Bargaining Council to replace the National Joint Negotiating Council for effective dialogue, restoration of vacation leave and review of the salaries.

The AGM is being held under the theme, “Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining, an Imperative to the Education System in Zimbabwe”.