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Zimbabwe Teachers Union Ends Strike, But Abuse By Troops Alleged

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe on Thursday calling off a strike by its members following the conclusion of an agreement on salary increases between the Harare government and representatives of the country's 180,000 civil servants.

The government agreed to raise teachers’ salaries from a monthly Z$84,000, or about US$17, to Z$528,000 a month (US$106), including transport and housing allowances.

National President Tendai Chikowore of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, a rival of the Progressive Teachers Union considered close to the government, confirmed the state had agreed to raise teachers’ salaries but refused to divulge the figures.

Chikowore said her association was informing members of the agreement.

Progressive Teachers Union General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that there are mixed feelings among his members about the deal but that his leadership saw fit to accept the offer.

Despite the agreement, scores of teachers in the Harare suburb of Epworth and other districts said they were beaten up by armed soldiers forcing them to back to work.

One eyewitness said truckloads of armed soldiers wielding baton sticks descended on Makomo primary school in Epworth and started beating teachers and students.

Sources said the soldiers assaulted teachers at other primary and secondary schools in Epworth, and at Widdecomb and Chiremba primary schools in nearby suburbs.

Francis Machimbidzofa, who has two children at Makomo primary school, told reporter Carole Gombakomba that the behavior of of the army troops terrified residents.

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