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Zimbabwe Teachers Say Class Boycott Continuing After 'Watered Down' Meeting With Top State Officials

ZIMTA chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu

Zimbabwean teachers are continuing with a nationwide class boycott following a meeting with two Cabinet ministers and top government officials that failed to map the way forward to end the industrial action, which has crippled most schools in the country.

In a statement after the meeting Monday, Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said Public Service Minister Paul Mavhima and Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Ginyilitshe Matema and several state officials indicated that they would take their concerns to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Cabinet.

“The meeting was watered down to a consultative forum, which ministers said they would use the knowledge to present the unions’ demands to cabinet. Beyond that promise to escalate the concerns to cabinet, nothing else came out, in short there was no movement on the issue of salaries.”

Ndlovu said they are still demanding salaries pegged at US$520 for the lowest paid teacher and an end to pay distortions “created by piecemeal and discriminatory awards to state employees, distortions that disfavoured teachers.”

He said as a result, more than 100,000 teachers would continue with the class boycott until their grievances are met.

“… To that end the meeting leaves teachers incapacitated and further plunges all educators into a state penury. Only a capacitating salary rise can bring back the teachers to the classrooms.”

Matema told VOA Studio 7 recently he was not aware of the teachers’ grievances.

“Why are they telling you in America and not us here. I don’t know what you are talking about (class boycott). We have done all we can to open schools. We are not the only government doing this.”

Zimbabwean school closed in March soon after the outbreak of COVID-19. They are now opening in phases.

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