Teachers rule out strike when schools re-open next week
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Schools open for the first term on 8 January.
"For now schools will open as scheduled without our disgruntled members going on strike over salary issues.
"We are waiting anxiously to see Government coming up with a very good package for the teachers before our membership embark on an industrial action later in January," said the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association secretary-general, Mr Richard Gundani.
In his budget statement, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the Government would award civil servants an inflation-based salary increment this year.
Zimbabwe has an annual inflation of less than 5 percent.
Mr Gundani said the teachers were not going to accept inflation-related salary increment because the increment would be paltry.
He said the lowest paid worker was taking home an average of $300.
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe national coordinator Mr Enoch Paradzayi said recently they held a meeting and resolved to go on strike if their plight was not addressed by pay day.
He said the inflation based salary increment which Government intended to award the civil servants was a drop in the ocean.
He said although Minister Biti had announced that civil servants would this month receive inflation-based salary increment, no official document had been given to PTUZ to that effect.
"The salary increment that will be inflation-related is paltry as it will see our salaries increasing by between $18 and $20," said Mr Paradzayi.
He said in 2012 the teachers were awarded allowances of $58.
"Government needs to be lenient and award a salary in line with the PDL," he said.
"After schools closed in December, as PTUZ we had a meeting where we agreed that if nothing is done we will engage in industrial action in January. We are now waiting to see what package Government will offer prior to our national executive meeting, which will determine the way forward. But for now schools will open as planned with our disgruntled members not embarking on an industrial action," he said.
He said unlike in the past few years schools were opening for the first term without package negotiations having been concluded by Government.
"Because the schools are opening in January without any negotiations, clearly demonstrates that there is no commitment on part of the Government to increase the salaries and payment of outstanding rural allowances."
Contacted for comment the Public Service Minister Ms Lucia Matibenga refused to comment referring questions to the Public Service Commission chairperson Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwa.
Dr Nzuwa would not be reached for comment while repeated efforts to get a comment from Ms Matibenga's Deputy Minister Andrew Langa were futile as his mobile phone went unanswered.
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