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New School Term In Zimbabwe Stumbles As Teachers Announce Strike

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe confirmed Wednesday that its members have launched a strike as a new school term begins, demanding a minimum monthly salary of Z$150,000 in redenominated currency, up from Z$1,400 dollars last month.

The union said its management committee set the strike last week to press the government to review teacher salaries. Union officials said the strike began on Tuesday, though there was no formal strike announcement as children and some teachers returned to classrooms.

Most schools were empty Tuesday as many students failed to show up amid confusion as to when classes were officially scheduled to resume, and as very few teachers showed up due in part to the inability of many instructors to pay soaring transport fees.

The rival Zimbabwe Teachers Association said talks on teacher salaries opened Wednesday in the venue of the Apex Council representing public workers. ZIMTA President Tendai Chikowore said his group's position would only be announced after the meeting.

Some parents said they are paying teachers cash or groceries to tutor their children.

PTUZ General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his union decided not to wait until after the Apex negotiations had concluded because the forum has failed to yield positive results for so long.

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