Tendai Kamhungira 21 March 2018
HARARE – Teachers have threatened to stage a nationwide strike, starting
next term, if government fails to meet their demands for a pay hike and a
review of rural-based educators’ allowances, among other things.
This comes amid unrest in the civil service, whereby public hospital
doctors have clocked two weeks while on strike.
On Monday, representatives of the main teachers’ unions met in the capital
where it was resolved to have their welfare issues treated as a matter of
At least six teachers’ unions were represented at the meeting namely the
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta), the Amalgamated Rural Teachers”
Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz), the Zimbabwe National Teachers Union (Zinatu),
the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), the Zimbabwe
Democratic Teachers’ Union (ZDTU) and the Professional Educators’ Union of
According to a statement, detailing the outcome of their engagement, the
unions are demanding “leave reinstatement considering that the matter had
its judgment reserved for a period in excess of 180 days since the date of
reservation and had been unilaterally withdrawn”.
On countryside-based service allowance, the educators said “considering
the hardships that rural teachers face and the comparative unfairness
where senior officers in government are paid much more for a single night
in the bush yet educators receive less than $15 for a month’s stint in
rural areas” – government must act.
The demand for leave reinstatement comes after government made a decision
in 2016 to withdraw vacation leave for teachers, as part of austerity
measures by the State.
In the meeting, the teachers also raised concern over their security,
claiming some were being victimised on frivolous political claims by
activists in some rural areas.
They further resolved to write a letter of demand, which will be handed
over to the government.
“Trade union leaders from all unions will meet on March 27, 2018 and carry
out a demonstration that will culminate into the presentation of demands
to authorities from 13:00 hours to 14:00 hours.”
“(A) letter of demand (will be submitted) to simultaneously give notice of
intention to strike by May 9, 2018, if demands are not met before then,”
the teachers said.
They further appointed a team of six officers, who were tasked with the
duty of drafting a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of an
“Unions committed to a combined May Day commemoration, a day they would
use to report back developments after the planned March and April
activities,” the teachers said, adding that government’s failure to heed
to their call will result in them embarking on a nationwide strike.
Zimbabwean teachers earn around $400 per month, which ranks them among the
lowest paid civil servants in the country.
The remuneration is well below the monthly consumer basket of about $540
for a five-member family, according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.
The teachers argue their salaries were last reviewed in 2013.