By Staff Reporter
TEACHERS, who say they have noted government claims of growth in mining, agriculture and other sectors ridiculed promises made by Zanu PF affiliate Teachers4ED at a peer meeting on salaries Wednesday, arguing their pockets were the only ones not realising the same.
They have been engaged in salary talks with government since coming in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration in 2017, demanding a US$540 wage as was the case in 2016.
Three days per week were suggested as reasonable for a strike that would force government to reconsider their situation.
“State-run newspaper, The Herald reported a 31.3% increase in gold output in November 2022, the 2022 wheat harvest was the highest since wheat production began in 1960 and our state media is awash with growth in all sectors of the economy.
“All this growth excludes the massive leakages in the economy, if plugged we could enjoy much higher growth figures.
“The only space that has not enjoyed growth is our pockets,” read Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union (ARTUZ) President Obert Masaraure’s presentation.
Teachers earn less than US$100 converted at the popular black-market rate and get an extra US$100, introduced last year as a cushioning allowance.
As a result of failure to address the matter, job actions have characterised school terms each year since their demands for an increase were aired.
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Added Masaraure: “We have never at any point demanded luxuries but just the basics, food, school fees for our children, healthcare, clothing, transport to and from work, accommodation and electricity and water.
“Cdes our list excludes basics like internet, savings and entertainment. We do not want to make such “big demands” we confine ourselves to the basics.
“We bear witness to mansions being built by senior government officials across the country, we are aware of the top-of-the-range vehicles owned by our leaders and we have monitored how Mthuli Ncube has pampered the bosses with elite luxuries. They have it all.
“Never mind your political affiliation, CCC or ZANU PF we are in the same frying pot. We believe teachers are wise, you cannot be hoodwinked by the Teachers4Ed empty promises. We should be for our families first, for our learners second and for Zimbabwe last. We can’t neglect our families and claim to be patriots.
“This time around we propose three days strike every week. This is open to discussion. Others are demanding an indefinite strike. We invite you to vote for your choice, either indefinite or a three-day strike every week.”
Ncube has maintained government does not have enough funds to cater for civil servants’ salary increments.
Poor working conditions and low wages have seen the country lose most of its human resources to better-paying countries in Europe, Canada, America, Australia and other African countries.