Teachers go on strike

Teachers under the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) went on strike Monday, pressing government for a 500 percent salary hike. A heated meeting last Thursday at the unions Harare office resulted in the decision to down tools. On Monday teachers in Harare reported for dut

y at their respective schools, but soon after clocking in refused to teach. PTUZ Harare Provincial Chairperson Jacob Rukweza said this would be the strategy for the time being until the strike builds momentum.
Teachers want salaries currently pegged at Z$2,9 million to be increased to Z$15 million a month. Although they received a salary hike the last time they went on strike in February, the increments have since been eroded by inflation leaving them worse off than before. The larger Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) has not given its official position on strike action but Rukweza says the last they heard ZIMTA was still locked in negotiations with government. He wondered how those negotiations could yield anything given that Mugabe recently ordered a freeze on wages, using his presidential powers.
In July teachers submitted their demands to the Public Service Commission (APEX Council), which represents all civil servants but received no firm commitments. The union argues government has gone back on a promise to review salaries each quarter of the year. Rukweza said the situation in the country is so bad they have reports that half the teachers are yet to turn up for the new term, because of transport and living expenses. Many others have simply left the country. Highlighting just how poorly paid teachers are, a monthly salary of Z$2,9 million can only buy 10 litres of petrol. – SW Radio Africa

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