Zim teachers give notice to embark on full-blown strike

Nationwide demonstrations in Zimbabwe erupted on January 14, 2019, after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that fuel prices were being doubled in a country suffering regular shortages of fuel, food and medicine. Picture: AFP/ File/ Jekesai NJIKIZANA

Teachers’ unions say they have given the government enough time to raise their salaries to above poverty level, but this has not happened.

Zimbabwean teachers have given a notice to their employer, the government, saying they will embark on a full-blown strike starting Tuesday, February 5.

Civil servants in the country have been at loggerheads with their employer demanding an upwards review of their salaries.

But the government initially offered them a measly 10 percent upwards review of their salaries, which meant the lowest earning civil servant would get $38 in electronic value.

It then raised the offer to 18.5 percent and then a once-off 22 percent cushioning allowance, but still, it did not find any takers.

On average, civil servants earn between $370 and $400.

The teachers want the lowest paid to get $1,700 in electronic value, but government has said it cannot afford such figures.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) leaders Raymond Majongwe and Tapson Sibanda, respectively, said today they had afforded their employer enough time to resolve the grievances raised by union members, including erosion of purchasing power of their salaries and the rising of prices of basic commodities and services

The teachers said they were “irked” by government’s “meagre salary adjustment” offering, which they described as “a slap in the face of our membership”, as they failed to address economic challenges.

They also said they had noted the dispute had escalated without any final resolution.

“Realising the need to restore teachers’ dignity and to enable teachers to be capacitated in every aspect of their lives by obtaining salaries which are meaningful and above the poverty datum line, we have agreed as follows: That starting from February 5, 2019, all our members shall exercise their right in terms of section 65(3) of the constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment no 20 Act of 2013 by embarking on a collective job action (strike). This essentially means our members will be withdrawing their service/labour and will not be reporting for duty from the date said,” the teachers’ representative said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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