Teachers’ unions announce 5-day strike, joining nurses and doctors

HARARE – Teachers’ unions called a five-day strike starting on Monday after rejecting an offer by the government to raise their salaries by 100 percent.

The strike call by teachers came on the same day that nurses, doctors and radiographers began their own indefinite strike demanding improved conditions of service.

In a statement, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, the Professional Educators Union of Zimbabwe and the Educators Union of Zimbabwe said they were giving the government five days to “take the time to address our grievances with the seriousness they deserve so that the school term can proceed in peace.”

“It is clear from the outcome of the National Joint Negotiating Council held on June 17 that the government is not serious about the welfare of civil servants,” the unions said in a statement distributed by their umbrella body, the Federation of Zimbabwe Educators Unions.

They added: “We cannot continue to be an embarrassment in our community as a result of the poverty that the government believes should remain as part of our working lives.”

The unions said their members “will not be able to report for work starting June 20 to June 24, 2022.”

Teachers earn an average Z$25,000 – less than US$40.

The government last reviewed salaries in February this year. Since then, the Zimbabwe dollar has lost more than 70 percent of its value on the official currency market and inflation has galloped to triple digits.

Government workers say they are unable to fend for their families amid record price increases.

After negotiations deadlocked last Friday, the government unilaterally announce the 100 percent salary increase which workers rejected outright.

Public service minister Paul Mavima said further negotiations are planned this week, with workers holding out for a minimum of US$540 for the lowest paid.

The strike by teachers is the second this year. In February, a walkout by teachers paralysed learning as the government resorted to threats and suspensions, which were nullified by the High Court.

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