Massive teachers’ strike as schools set to reopen; Union says salary of ZW$40,000 is ridiculous
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has said more than 50,000 teachers are supporting the idea of going on strike when schools open next week.
In a statement, ARTUZ said it will organise massive collective actions as part of its endeavours to push government towards reinstatement of the US$540 monthly salary for teachers.
The labour movement said 99 percent of the 52,340 teachers they interviewed supported the idea of going on a job action.
According to ARTUZ, teachers are currently earning ZW$40,000 and an additional US$200 in allowances, taking their gross income to US$250.
“The cost for sending a child to an ordinary boarding is US$1,000 for beginners at Form 1 and US$600 for other learners,” read the statement.
“This translates to around US$150 for education per child per month. For a family of 6 with just three children of school going age, this becomes US$450.
“Monthly bills for just housing, education and healthcare stands at US$908. When schools open a commuting teacher will need around US$40 per month just for transport. If we add food, the cost of living continues to rise,” said ARTUZ.
The union added that while US$1000 per month is not enough to cater for the needs of a family of six per month, teachers were expected to live on US$250.
“This is the reason why it will remain impossible for teachers to resume teaching on opening day.
“99% of the 52,340 teachers we interviewed are supporting the idea of going on a job action. The majority of the teachers still demand the US$540 they used to earn pre October 2018.”
Teachers have been complaining over poor remuneration for years but no solid solution has been put in place to solve the situation.
This has resulted in children attending government schools missing good part of the beginning of each term during which their teachers will be on strike.
Teachers also get arrested and prosecuted for protesting against poor salaries.
In most cases, parents are being forced to fork out money from their pockets cushioning teachers.