The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) says teachers’ salaries have been reduced to the equivalent of US$100 following the devaluation of the local currency on the parallel market in the past two months.
By Tafadzwa Mutacha
Civil servants, including teachers, have been demanding that their salaries be paid in foreign currency to cushion them against price increases caused by the depreciation of the bond note.
“The sad reality is that things have become worse in 2018. Our salaries have been stolen from us by the new hangman in town, Professor Mthuli Ncube.
“We are now earning just US$120 from US$500 in January 2018. The teacher has sunk deeper on the poverty index,” the union said.
“We can no longer afford food, shelter, health care and all the basic needs apt for humans.
“Our humanity has been stolen! We are treated worse than dogs and expected to work harder than horses.
“The government has also imposed a brutal tax regime to further extort us of the little that remains of our pathetic salaries.
“The 2% tax on all electronic transactions further reduces our salaries to just above US$100.
“To rub salt to our injury (sic), Ncube slashed our annual bonus from an average of $500 to a pitiable $289. These people will not stop at anything, their agenda is to rob us of the little dignity we still have.”
ARTUZ is mobilising teachers from across the country to march from Mutare to Harare this week to put pressure on the government to start paying them in US dollars.
The organisation has since notified the Labour, Primary and Secondary Education and Finance ministries of their plan to picket at Ncube’s offices until their grievances are addressed.
“Austerity measures are not new to Zimbabwe; we are all conversant of (the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme) Esap, of the early 90s. Austerity did not work then and will not work now. The only thing, which was achieved by Esap was to deny citizens of basic social services,” ARTUZ said.
“The challenges confronting us are insurmountable, but we have demonstrated an unrivalled fighting spirit worth celebrating. Our resolve to fight injustice is unshaken.”
Fiscal and monetary measures announced by Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya in September increased demand for foreign currency and prices of basic commodities shot up.