Teachers threaten to strike

HARARE - Teachers have threatened to stage a nationwide strike, starting next term, if government fails to meet their demands for a pay hike and a review of rural-based educators' allowances, among other things.

This comes amid unrest in the civil service, whereby public hospital doctors have clocked two weeks while on strike.

On Monday, representatives of the main teachers’ unions met in the capital where it was resolved to have their welfare issues treated as a matter of urgency.

At least six teachers’ unions were represented at the meeting namely the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta), the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’’ Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz), the Zimbabwe National Teachers Union (Zinatu), the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), the Zimbabwe Democratic Teachers’ Union (ZDTU) and the Professional Educators’ Union of Zimbabwe (PEUZ).

According to a statement, detailing the outcome of their engagement, the unions are demanding “leave reinstatement considering that the matter had its judgment reserved for a period in excess of 180 days since the date of reservation and had been unilaterally withdrawn”.

On countryside-based service allowance, the educators said “considering the hardships that rural teachers face and the comparative unfairness where senior officers in government are paid much more for a single night in the bush yet educators receive less than $15 for a month’s stint in rural areas” — government must act.

The demand for leave reinstatement comes after government made a decision in 2016 to withdraw vacation leave for teachers, as part of austerity measures by the State.

In the meeting, the teachers also raised concern over their security, claiming some were being victimised on frivolous political claims by activists in some rural areas.

They further resolved to write a letter of demand, which will be handed over to the government.

“Trade union leaders from all unions will meet on March 27, 2018 and carry out a demonstration that will culminate into the presentation of demands to authorities from 13:00 hours to 14:00 hours.”

“(A) letter of demand (will be submitted) to simultaneously give notice of intention to strike by May 9, 2018, if demands are not met before then,” the teachers said.

They further appointed a team of six officers, who were tasked with the duty of drafting a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of an inter-union relationship.

“Unions committed to a combined May Day commemoration, a day they would use to report back developments after the planned March and April activities,” the teachers said, adding that government’s failure to heed to their call will result in them embarking on a nationwide strike.

Zimbabwean teachers earn around $400 per month, which ranks them among the lowest paid civil servants in the country.

The remuneration is well below the monthly consumer basket of about $540 for a five-member family, according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.

The teachers argue their salaries were last reviewed in 2013.

Comments (1)

Chinyika hachina kumira mushe ichi. Teachers making way below PDL yet rewarding narcissist fool Mugabe, the very architect of our misery, with a $20000 per month pension!!

Moe Syslack - 21 March 2018

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