The PResident of the Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ), Dr Takavafira Zhou has said teachers’ struggle has never been about a salary increase but the restoration of the purchasing power parity of teachers’ salaries pegged at US$540.
Thursday marked the 4th day since the schools reopened on Monday but scores of teachers did not report for duty saying they are incapacitated and the government has suspended them without pay for three months. Speaking on teachers’ industrial action, Zhou said:
We have never embarked on grandstanding asking for US$670 that has no locus standi but US$540 that has a legal backing as we were earning this salary until 2018.
If the economic situation has improved under the Second Republic in comparison to the First Republic as we are made to understand, we fail to comprehend why this can not also reflect in terms of teachers’ salaries. At any rate, even if the economy has not improved that would not justify the unilateral reduction of our salary that remains a monumental labour injustice. Teachers would not mind where the government would get money. All they want is fair labour practice.
He said teachers asked for loans to buy houses and for land to build their build own houses but they are not sure if they will get that.
Zhou added that the government’s acceptance for exemption of fees payment for three children of a teacher in any school where teachers are paid by the government is a step in the right direction, but “the quantum (US$20000) the government is prepared to give per term… cannot afford a teacher’s child the best education in Zimbabwe.”
He expressed scepticism on the government committing to pay the fees considering that it is “erratic” as far as payment of beam funds is concerned.