By Alois Vinga
THE Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has scoffed at the US$300 Covid-19 allowance conversion into a salary describing the move as a mere ’tissue of misrepresentation’.
The decision to turn the US$300 allowance into a salary was announced by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube during the 2024 National Budget presentation.
Last week the government moved to make the directive a reality after transforming the allowance for the first batch of uniformed forces to a proper salary.
Some sections of the civil servants group commended the government for the initiative saying it will go a long way to bring clarity to the matter and enable them to get salary-based loans from the banks.
However, the PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou dismissed the sentiments arguing the salary threshold is still inadequate.
“Talk that the new salary will transform the teachers’ plight. This is high-sounding nothing and tissue of misrepresentation considering a myriad of taxes and increases announced by the Finance Minister that cumulatively heap burning coals upon the heads of the workers.
“Salaries must be a result of binding collective bargaining and not a product of one-armed banditry, and primitive exploitation of the employer in a manner tantamount to slavery.
“It is only through logical disputation, broad engagement and social dialogue that there could be industrial harmony in schools,” he said.
The teachers’ group leader said at the current rate, the salary being paid is far too little to teachers who were earning US$540 basic salary in October 2018 that was unilaterally culled by the government in a manner tantamount to unfair labour practice.
“We therefore call for urgent restoration of US$540 basic salary of teachers, and payment of US$80 education allowance in US$, and other host allowances as infancy, class teacher, bloated class, A level and responsibility allowances in US$s,” he said.