Zimbabwean public sector employees are now comparing and contrasting their salaries to how many loaves of bread they can buy.
Last weekend, the price of bread rose from $450 to between $600 and $945, with the majority of workers taking home $35 000 per month.
A teacher’s payslip seen by NewsDay on Tuesday revealed that educators take home $19 818, excluding the US$75 COVID-19 allowance.
Following the latest bread increases, teachers say their salary is now equivalent to 20 loaves of bread.
Speaking to NewsDay, Tafadzwa Munodawafa, the Educators Union of Zimbabwe (EUZ) president, said that the low salaries were a mockery of the teaching profession. He said:
This is an example of a rare payslip for a teacher. It’s clean. No loans. Most teachers have three loan deductions and net around $9 000.
The only money left of significance is the US$175 (US$100 from the salary) that comes in cash. Remember, this is a teacher who once earned US$540 before October 2018.
Our members and the fraternity at large have made it clear that it’s no longer feasible to continue to work under the prevailing economic hardships.
Currently, a teacher at the entry point is earning just about two dozen loaves of bread. It’s preposterous, to say the least.
As a union, we have come to appreciate that the government doesn’t respect the process of dialogue.
The employer has continued to give us a raw deal. Our genuine demands for a sustainable salary that should contribute to our pension package continue to be ignored.
We are left with no choice, but to organise ourselves to resist the slave wages.
I call upon all teachers union leaders and other government workers’ unions to come together to map a collective way forward as is expected of us by the members we represent.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said:
Teachers are earning as little as $20 000 per month (outside COVID-19 and cushion allowance), a salary which can only afford to pay for 20 loaves of bread.
The teachers are starving, and cannot afford to access basic services such as education, healthcare and accommodation among others.