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Another Zimbabwe Teacher Strike Looming As Talks Fail to Materialize

A meeting between Zimbabwean teachers and government officials proposed by the Ministry of Education in hopes of heading off a strike threatened by representatives of teachers over compensation failed to take place on Monday, two days before schools are to re-open.

Education Minister David Coltart told VOA said his ministry could not reach senior officials of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association in time to invite them to the proposed meeting.

Coltart said he met Monday with Finance Minister Tendai Biti seeking a solution, adding that he hoped Biti would be present if and when he meets with teachers on Tuesday.

The Zimbabwe Teachers Association has called a strike Wednesday to enforce demands for higher pay. The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe is holding internal consultations.

ZIMTA President Tendai Chikowore told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that her members will go ahead with the announced strike as her organization had so far received no official government communication on negotiations.

Zimbabwe's six-month-old national unity government is under pressure from all categories of public workers for pay increases, but says it cannot afford to meet demands. Teachers and most other state employees are being paid less than US$200 a month

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