Teachers’ pay rise proposal rocks the boat

Fresh divisions have rocked civil servants following the Apex Council and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe’s rejection of the $1,000 salary proposal put forward by the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association.

ZIMTA Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Ndlovu, said that the $1,000 salary was in line with trends in the southern African region. Zimbabwe currently pays its teachers $400, including allowances, at a time when the poverty line is pegged at $540. Staff morale has been affected and many teachers have left Zimbabwe for better pay elsewhere.

However, the Apex Council, which brings together civil servants’ unions in salary negotiations with the government and the PTUZ say the demands by ZIMTA are outrageous. Civil servants have for the past year failed to engage in salary talks with the government following wrangles over the Apex Council leadership – see story on page 8.

In his solidarity message at the World Teachers’ Day commemorations organised by the PTUZ in the capital last week, Apex Council chair David Dzatsunga accused ZIMTA of grandstanding because civil servants recently submitted a position paper to government demanding a minimum salary of $540.

“When we negotiate, we must negotiate reasonably,” said Dzatsunga.

He said the latest action by ZIMTA would only serve to create divisions and hamper efforts over reasonable salary negotiations.

But ZIMTA’s chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu, remained unmoved by Dzasunga’s concerns.

“When we put forward that position paper, we were saying that $540 should be given to the poorest people in government and teachers cannot be classified as poor. That $540 should be meant for sweepers and not teachers,” he said.

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