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Some Schools Open in Zimbabwe As Main Teachers Unions Go Separate Ways

Classes went ahead in some of Zimbabwe’s schools on Monday despite a widespread strike by teachers depending on the union affiliation of educators and school administrators, sources said.

School heads with ties to the Zimbabwe Teachers Association were said to be turning away pupils, while classes were going ahead at institutions where the main labor affiliation of teachers and administrators was with the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, the sources said.

Teachers Association Acting Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Ndlovu told reporter Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that members of his organization would not return to to work until the government made a satisfactory response to their demand for a large increase in teacher salaries.

Teachers now receive about US$150 a month; ZIMTA is demanding US$700 a month.

Progressive Teachers Union President Takavafira Zhou accused ZIMTA of misleading teachers, adding that it is embarrassing that Zimbabwe's teachers cannot speak with one voice.

He added that a South African group has invited both unions to a meeting Sept. 17 in that country aimed at bringing about the unification of the two organizations representing Zimbabwe's teachers.

In years past, ZIMTA was considered more responsive to the ZANU-PF government of President Robert Mugabe, while now the PTUZ is seen as more closely aligned to the Movement for Democratic Change side of the unity government headed by MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai, today prime minister.

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