By Audience Mutema
DOZENS of teachers on Friday marched to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s office to demand a minimum wage of $3 000 dollars or have their current salaries pegged in US dollars.
The educators, who comprised Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) members, also demanded the immediate scrapping of government’s 2 percent tax on electronic transfers.
In its petition, the militant teachers group outlined a list of demands that included clarity of their 2018 bonus payments and the provision of non-monetary incentives by their employer.
“The 2% tax on all electronic transactions should be repealed immediately as it is impoverishing our members,” read the petition.
“Our salaries should be denominated in the more stable United States Dollar currency as was the case before the announcement of the fiscal and monetary policies by the government given that the Real Time Settlement (RTGS) is fluctuating and fluid.”
The teachers also a government nod to bring in duty-free imports for both able bodied and disabled members.
They added in their demands, “That the bonus issue has to be dealt with conclusively as it is PTUZ’s considered view that the 13th cheque is now a right and not a privilege. We have a legitimate expectation to receive it timeously.”
During their demonstration which was escorted by police, the teachers first gathered at the Africa Unity Square where they were addressed by union secretary general Raymond Majongwe who reiterated their demands for US dollar pegged wages.
“It is very true that we want to be paid in US dollars. Why not be paid in US dollars when the services we want are pegged in US dollars,” he said, adding, “It becomes tragic when people from the government say you don’t create foreign currency, so you cannot be paid in foreign currency.”
PTUZ secretary general Raymond Majongwe
The placard waving educators then marched from the iconic square to the adjacent Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) building within the city centre where they placed demands for the health insurer to abandon its US dollar requirement for some of its services.
“PSMAS must give services to the people that pay them as they (teachers) are not receiving quality services they need because PSMAS now requires them to pay in US dollars whilst they are paid in bond notes and RTGS salaries; and they are not getting poor quality services,” Majongwe said while addressing protesting teachers outside the building.
The disgruntled government workers later proceeded to Ncube’s office at the New Government Complex where they however failed to meet the minister or his aides to hand them the petition.
LIVE: PTUZ demonstration in Harare.Teachers demand salaries in USD.More details on NewZimbabwe.com
Posted by New Zimbabwe.com on Friday, November 9, 2018
Majongwe was candid in his condemnation of what he found to be a very negative attitude by the Minister’s aides in the absence of the treasury boss who was said to be out of town for a pre-budget seminar for MPs.
“The government says it is open for business, an open door policy but we have come here and they have closed the doors.
“They are not listening; they have run away. So the question is, is this the new dispensation or it’s just hoax,” Majongwe said.
A teacher fakes a fall during the march
Zimbabwean teachers earn a monthly average of $300 but recent sharp price increases have made a mockery of the wage with Majongwe saying that the educators were now “subsidising” their employer.
The government has shown no interest in meeting the teachers’ demands with Ncube saying that the country shall leave its local currency to circulate while President Emmerson Mnangagwa also told an auditors meeting in Harare on Thursday that the 2 % tax was going nowhere.
Ncube also said Thursday that government will soon unveil a bunus incentive for civil servants.