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Teachers Refuse To Return To Classrooms; $35USD/Month Cannot Meet Basic Needs

The ZIMTA Executive declared that educators will not report for duty on the 28th of September 2020 for opening of schools

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Tafadzwa Mwanengureni
Tafadzwa Mwanengureni
I am a student journalist at Harare Polytechnic majoring in print journalism

ZIMBABWE. Harare. Teachers have refused to resume their duties on Monday demanding an augmentation to their salaries. Currently, teachers are earning 3000RTGS which is approximately $USD35/ month.

One teacher shared in an interview with Transcontinental Times, “l cannot go because l have no bus fare and food and other basic necessities. If they increase our pay, l will go wholeheartedly,” he said.

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Call for teachers not to report to duty until salaries increase

In a circular letter posted on Facebook, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association wrote, “After a wide range consultation of all our 42,000 members across all ten provinces, the ZIMTA Executive hereby declares that all educators will not be able to report for duty on the 28th of September 2020 for opening of schools as they are incapacitated.”

The statement demanded the restoration of the purchasing power parity of teachers salary pegged at USD$520.
A rudimentary knowledge of cost of living in Zimbabwe can tell that a teacher’s salary cannot sustain for a single week.

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The employer turned a deaf ear to the teachers’ grievances

Zimbabwe Rural Teacher’s Union Vice President Gibson Mushangu told Transcontinental Times that a series of National Joint Negotiation Council (NJNC) meetings have been held but to no avail.

Read also: High Schoolers Challenge Their Education Minister For A Better Future

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“Series of the NJNC meetings have not realised anything further than the paltry offer of the government which is pegged at 40% of one’s basic salary, housing allowance, and transport allowance. As such, this has left the ever hard working teacher with no capacity to survive in this hard economic environment which demands USD currency or its equivalence for all purchases that are essential for an ordinary human being survival,” he said.

Salaries not enough to cover basic neccessities

Mushangu mentioned some fundamental needs that teachers are failing to meet due to low salary, including medication, transport services, food, education, accommodation, and clothing for both teachers and families
All these are being charged in USD and the minimum amount charged for each is US$10.

Pupils in class before covid-19 outbreak. Photo credit: Google images.

“Teachers are unable to make ends meet in their social and professional lives as related to their salaries. In as much as they would want to go to work in the event that the ground for health matters has been levelled. Resources they have will never permit them to survive this wrath of hard economic environment and self-dollarized economy,” he said.


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