Underpaid teachers dangerous, govt warned as wages plunge from ‘US$550 to US$34’

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By Staff Reporter

TEACHER union groups from across the country have told President Emmerson Mnangagwa to urgently review teachers’ salaries, warning, under-paid educators were a danger to society.

In a joint statement Monday, unions called for an immediate meeting with government on teachers’ welfare at a time members were struggling to make ends meet.

“We the undersigned Teacher Unions in Zimbabwe, now therefore, urge the Employer to treat the issue of the review of teachers’ salaries as an urgent matter,” said the unions.

“Pay teachers’ salaries in United States Dollars, which they used to earn before October 2017 in line with the Purchasing Power Parity principle.

“Be aware that there is nothing as dangerous as having under-paid teachers in the classrooms because teachers are role models of their communities.

“Pay an acceptable Covid-19 risk allowance to teachers as in essence they are frontline workers in the education system.”

The joint statement was presented by eight teachers’ unions which are Artuz, Ptuz, Tuz, Zdtu, Zinatu, Zineu, Zrtu and Zimta.

The educators said they were earning wages as low as $2,800 when the cost of groceries only for a family of six was conservatively pegged at $5,551 while other basics were at $2,666, based on the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.

Teachers have expressed worry that despite increasing levels of inflation pegged at 700%, the educators salaries, “have remained stagnant in an economic environment where the cost of everything else is continuously pointing northwards because of the galloping three-digit inflation.”

They said the economy has since re-dollarised with businesses “now demanding payment in the more stable currency of United States Dollars yet teachers, meagre salaries of less than US$34 are denominated in the less stable currency of the Zimbabwean Dollar.”

Teachers further indicated that before the introduction of the local currency, they were earning US$550 per month.