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Zimbabwe's Progressive Teachers Union On Verge Of Calling Strike

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe announced Monday that its members starting Wednesday would embark on a nationwide go-slow action preparatory to the launch on Monday, Feb. 5, of a full-fledged strike over pay and conditions. The schedule for the labor actions was set Sunday by the PTUZ executive body.

The union gave the government a two-week notice of its intent to strike, which expired on Monday. Union officials said that the government so far has not responded.

Harare at the start of the year increased salaries for all public workers by 300%, and the lowest-paid teacher now receives $84,000 dollars (US$20) a month.

But the union, which initially demanded a base salary of Z$3 million, is now asking for a minimum basic salary of Z$400,000 a month for the first quarter of this year. It is also seeking a Z$100,000 transport allowance and Z$150,000 housing allowance.

Teachers also want their own children to attend school without fee - a benefit that the country's liberation war veterans already enjoy.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his organization hopes that other unions representing teachers will throw their weight behind the strike.

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