Teaching unions in Zimbabwe have condemned a new 'code of conduct' issued for teachers by the government. Amongst other things, the code says teachers will be liable to dismissal or other sanctions if they take industrial action.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) condemned the code as 'unconstitutional and criminal' since it goes against rights enshrined in the constitution as well as international agreements formulated by the International Labour Organisation. The code was published without any consultation with the unions.

Teaching unions and other public sector workers are in dispute with the government at the moment over the failure to pay their salaries. The publication of the code is ominous since it appears to give legitimacy to security forces in carrying ouy further attacks on striking or protesting teachers, as they did in January of this year.