Government doubles civil service salaries ahead of polls; teachers still not happy with increase

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By Reuters

HARARE: Zimbabwe’s government has offered public sector workers including teachers a 100% salary increase, as President Emmerson Mnangagwa moves to pacify a restive civil servants reeling from soaring costs of living ahead of crucial polls this year.

The salary increments announced by Treasury come amid plans by underpaid teachers to go on strike to demand higher pay.

The salary increments means a teacher currently earning an average of 40,000 Zimbabwe dollar ($43.72) a month, will now get about 80,000 Zimbabwe dollar ($87.44).

The U.S. dollar monthly allowance the government pays its workers will also increase from $200 to $250, while teachers will get an additional $80 teaching allowance a month.

The salary increments will be backdated to Feb. 1, according to a letter from Treasury to the Public Service Commission dated March 15 and seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

But teachers are unhappy with the offer.

“The quantum of the increase is not in sync with the realities of life in Zimbabwe. Teachers remain poor,” Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe leader Obert Masaraure told Reuters.

Masaraure said the union had consulted its members and they were pressing ahead with plans to strike. He did not say when the strike action would begin.

The country’s blended inflation for February stood at 92.3% year-on-year compared to 101.5% in January, after Zimbabwe adopted a measure inflation using a weighted average of items priced in Zimbabwean dollars and U.S. dollars.

Zimbabweans this year will vote for a new president at a yet to be announced date, and Mnangagwa will be looking to attract the civil service vote from the opposition which is largely viewed as pro-labour.