Teachers Threaten Strike

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By Newsday

TEACHERS unions have warned that they will not report for duty when schools open for the first term unless the government improves their conditions of service.

Teachers are demanding, among others, United States dollar-based salaries.

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro told NewsDay on Monday that schools will open on January 10 barring any changes.

Examinations will resume on January 4 for learners who had not finished when schools closed for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

But teacher unions said they were not ready to return to work until their demands were met.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union president Obert Masaraure said there was a need for a collaborative approach to restore service delivery in schools.

“Pay teachers US dollar salaries, fully fund basic education as prescribed by section 75 of the constitution…,” Masaraure said.

“If the above issues are not addressed 2022 will be another wasted year for education. Opening schools on 10 January 2022 is impossible if the government does not play ball.”

Zimbabwe National Teachers Union (Zinatu) president Manuel Nyawo echoed Masaraure’s sentiments arguing the economy has long been dollarised.

“As Zinatu, it’s important that we demand our January salaries before schools open to enable us to make the necessary preparations before we can go back to work and come January payday, we should get the negotiated top up for January salaries,” Nyawo said.

“This is what will make us survive because without this arrangement in place, teachers won’t be able to go back to work.”

Takavafira Zhou, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president, said teachers were too incapacitated to return to work.

“With schools increasing fees by more than 350%, and teachers’ salaries as little as $24 000, there is no way teachers can report for duty to teach other people’s children when their own children cannot afford to pay fees in most schools,” Zhou said.

Government has repeatedly said it has no capacity to pay teachers in US dollars.