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Following Three Day Slowdown, Zimbabwe Teachers Launch Strike

Members of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe launched a strike Monday following a three-day slowdown action last week, union officials confirmed.

The strike was two weeks in the making as union officials set a deadline in an attempt to obtain a commitment from Harare to address teacher pay demands.

PTUZ Harare Province Chairman Jacob Rukweza told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that on Monday police interrogated some headmasters as to why teachers were absent. But he said no arrests had been reported.

From Masvingo, capital of the eastern province of the same name, PTUZ President Takavafira Zhou said teachers in Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands and Mashonaland East, West and Central were sitting in staff rooms refusing to teach. Teachers in Matabeleland North and South, and in Bulawayo, were also striking.

The teachers are demanding an entry-level salary of Z$400,000 a month (US$80) plus allowances for transportation and housing.

Though the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, considered pro-government, was not calling for a strike, some of its members were said to have heeded PTUZ's strike call, and ZIMTA officials were to hold talks with the government later in the week.

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