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As New School Term Begins In Zimbabwe, Teachers Launch Slowdown

The beginning of a new school term on Tuesday in Zimbabwe brought word from the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe that its members were embarking on a go-slow action after rejecting a government offer of a 1,000% pay increase.

PTUZ officials added that after their Jan. 22 pay date its members will step up action if Harare has not met their demand for a minimum monthly salary of Z$526 million. The government has offered a tenfold pay increase amounting to some Z$260 million, but that was well short of the settlement it recently reached with magistrates.

The union deplored what it described as a “wait and see” attitude by the government while thousands of teachers emigrate seeking better pay and working conditions.

President Tendai Chikowore of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, a teachers union that has a closer relationship with the government, said she could not comment as her organization was still collecting data on how many teachers showed up for work.

But Progressive Teachers Union President Takavafira Zhou told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that all teachers across the country have joined the PTUZ-led slowdown regardless of their union affiliation.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...