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Zimbabwe Teachers Set to Go on Strike As Schools Open

Some school children and their parents looking for school uniforms in Bulawayo streets.
Some school children and their parents looking for school uniforms in Bulawayo streets.

Zimbabwean teachers have vowed to stay home tomorrow as schools open for the first quarter of the 2020 calendar year, saying they are too incapacitated to return to work due to lack of money.

Some teachers’ unions say their members, who are demanding salaries pegged at prevailing interbank rates, have no money for bus fares, food and other basic needs.

Three major teachers’ unions, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA), have informed the government about the pending industrial action, which is expected to cripple the education sector.

ZIMTA chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu, says thousands of teachers won’t return to work.

“All our members have indicated that they are not returning to work on Tuesday as they don’t have money for bus fares, buying food and other basic needs. It’s impossible for those working in rural areas to return to work without food. Their December salaries have been exhausted due to hyperinflation.
“To make matters worse, they are unable to pay fees for their children who will drop out of school due to lack of money for fees and other school necessities. They are too incapacitated to return to work.”

Civil servants on Friday rejected a 100 percent salary increase, which would have resulted in the lowest paid worker getting 2,033 Zimbabwe dollars a month. They are demanding that salaries should be pegged at prevailing interbank rates.

The government also promised to pay the civil servants a cushioning allowance of up to 750 Zimbabwe dollars. They also rejected the offer.

Junior Zimbabwean doctors have been on strike demanding payment of salaries at current interbank rates. The government dismissed at least 450 of the striking doctors after the Labour Court declared that their industrial action was illegal.