TEACHERS have gone on a full-scale strike demanding a minimum monthly salary of $3,5 billion backdated to February.
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) yesterday sent out a circular to all schools instructing teachers to go on strike because negotiations for a salary review with the government had collapsed.Reports from all provinces show that teachers yesterday did not carry out their duties.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) leaders said teachers had embarked on industrial action to press the government to review their salaries.
The PTUZ earlier this month called for industrial action to press for a new salary increment of $1,7 billion after teachers rejected a 1 000% hike awarded to all civil servants in January.
Raymond Majongwe, the PTUZ secretary-general, said the strike was taking place across the country and declared that teachers would not go back to work until their demands were met.
Teachers and other civil servants accused the cash-strapped Zanu PF government of favouritism when it awarded a hefty pay rise to the military this month while failing to do the same for the rest of its workers. They said they also deserve a salary review.
A crippling public service general strike now looms after union leaders threatened strike action if their members were not awarded a pay increase similar to that awarded to members of the army.
Public Service Association (PSA) president, Cecilia Alexander-Khowa, said the association was giving government until the end of today to review salaries or face a general strike.
“Our members are failing to make ends meet and yet their counterparts in the army are earning billions. Soldiers are not an essential service during peace time so we wonder why they are getting special treatment,” said Alexander-Khowa.
The PSA boss warned that in the event that their grievances were not addressed, government workers would have no choice but to join the teachers on strike.
The PSA represents all government employees outside the uniformed forces and teachers.