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Teachers threaten January strike

TEACHERS yesterday warned that they will not report for work when schools re-open next month unless the government accedes to their demands to be paid in United States dollars.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

The threat was made by the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) after meeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Harare where they demanded that salaries for teachers be increased from $500 to $3 086 in real time gross settlement balances or an equivalent in USD.

PTUZ secretary general Raymond Majongwe told journalists that in the absence of salary adjustments schools will not re-open for the first term.
“We were able to articulate the challenges the teachers are facing,” he said.

“From salary issues our demands are clear that because of the purchasing power parity theory it’s going to be very difficult for teachers to return to work if we are not going to be paid in USD.”

The government insists that the exchange rate between the US dollar and the bond notes is at par despite business adopting rates prevailing on the parallel market.

“We calculated the consumer basket using purchasing power parity theory and also inputting inflation currently at 31% per annum and found out that a figure of $3086 per month or the equivalent in USD for a family of six would suffice,” Majongwe said.

He said using the prevailing exchange rates, teachers’ salaries had been reduced to US$80.

Other demands presented to Mnangagwa included free education for teachers’ children, among others.

However, Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi said government was not in a position to pay civil servants in foreign currency.

“Government is aware of the challenges being faced by civil servants in the discharge of their duties and is doing everything in its capacity to improve the situation. However, civil servants must not make demands that are outside the reach of government,” he said.

Doctors went on strike at the beginning of the month demanding salaries in foreign currency.

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