The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) has called for sincerity in addressing teachers’ concerns ahead of schools opening on 7 February.
Teachers have been calling for the restoration of their October 2018 salaries when they were being paid about US$518. They currently earn an equivalent of just above US$100.
ZIMTA statement is issued as the government is meeting with workers’ representatives to discuss salary issues that have been on the agenda since two years ago. Pindula News presents ZIMTA’s statement:
Teachers from public schools have cried foul over high transport costs and lack of or insufficient transport allowances from the employer that should enable them to safely travel back to their stations which they had temporarily left due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Many have also cited incapacitation due to inflation hit RTGS salaries.
The teachers’ unpreparedness for schools opening comes on the heels of an announcement from the government that all schools re-open on the 7th of February next week.
A survey conducted by Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) has revealed that teachers may not afford to travel to their respective work stations due to paltry incomes and high transport costs.
Contacted for a response the Acting Secretary-General, Goodwill Taderera confirmed that the biggest union of teachers in Zimbabwe was running marathon meetings to consult far and wide in order to consolidate its union position ahead of February 7 2022. However, in some interviews with school teachers, ZIMTA heard that some teachers were in urgent need of capacitation and transport cushioning from the employer.
A Matebeleland based teacher, Isaac Siyamahila said he could not cater for his travelling costs back to his station.” Myself and my colleagues, we are not ready for schools opening because some have to travel from different places for example, from Chimanimani to Binga and its very difficult because transporters demand forex which we don’t have. The USD75 that was said to be paid is very difficult to access, if you get to access it traveling is very difficult. We need some government cushioning.”
Mr Bhebhe, a teacher also in Matebeleland, said government must consider looking at the plight of teachers and offer meaningful salaries. He said,”We are not ready for schools opening because a review of salary remuneration and conditions of service remain a mammoth task. If only something could be done by government to alleviate our plight because as l speak now the USD75 and the salary is not enough. Government must intervene to protect the dignity of the learners and teachers because as it is we are stressed as we do not know what will happen next.”
Speaking in an earlier interview, Acting Secretary-General, Mr Goodwill Taderera urged government to be more considerate when it comes to teachers’ welfare.
“The current bread basket according to Consumer Council of Zimbabwe stands at $72 967 while ZimStats PDL stands at $48 046. All these figures are way above what the ordinary teacher is currently earning. Therefore we demand that government be more sincere in ensuring educators earn a decent living wage,” He said.
Government has announced that schools will re-open on the 7th of February 2022.