Rural teachers threaten total shutdown

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has threatened to shut down schools at the end of the month if the government does not attend to its grievances.

Last month President Mnangagwa approved to a pay raise for civil servants which would see the least paid government worker taking home around ZW$1 000.

Civil servants were also promised a hardship allowance this month by the government amid reports that members of the security sector were awarded a ZW$400 hardship allowance.

ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure, said teachers cannot render their services any longer due to the meager wages they have been receiving.

“Teachers are heavily incapacitated and cannot afford to go to work. We call on the government to take action to resolve salary crisis before Monday 22 July,” warned Masaraure.

He said teachers are unable to support their families with the current salaries they have been receiving.

“Prices are continuing to shoot up and teachers cannot afford to buy basic commodities and provide for their families,” said Masaraure.

The ARTUZ president stressed that teachers’ salaries should be negotiated in United States Dollars as that was the currency they used to earn during the multi-currency regime.

“Teachers are currently earning US$30 which is way below US$500 we used to earn. The current salary has reduced teachers and other civil servants to paupers,” said Masaraure.

“If the salaries this year according to interbank rates, teachers will be earning at least RTGS $4 500 that can sustain their livelihoods.”

He said the union has been issuing petitions to the government since January of this year but it has not been responsive.

“We have submitted 42 petitions to the government but it has been turning a deaf ear to our request,” said Masaraure.

The union president encouraged teachers to relieve themselves from their duties and resume to work after their pleas have been heard by the government.

“We encourage all teachers to stay at home beginning 22 July if salaries are not reviewed,” said Masaraure.

“We encourage teachers to engage in income-generating initiatives to support their families through these trying times.”

Most government workers’ earnings are now well below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL).

 In April 2019, the PDL for an average family of five shot up to $924 from $872 in March, a 5.8 percent increase, as stated by the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (ZIMSTAT).

Total food consumption alone for a family of five stood at $319 for the month of April, eight percent up from $294.66 in the month of March 2019 while an individual’s food and total consumption was pegged at $63.72 and $184.86 respectively. 

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