Teachers who down tools in Zimbabwe will soon find themselves without a salary at all, a Government official has said.
However, this has drawn criticism from teacher representatives who say they “remain unmoved by the pronouncement”.
The stand-off follows weeks of inconclusive salary negotiations between the Zimbabwe Government and civil servants.
The parties are accusing each other of negotiating in bad faith.
Teachers and other civil servants want “a living wage”, not the current salary of ZWL$4 900 which is below the ZWL$17 200 poverty datum line.
In September, Government put 10 000 qualified, but unemployed, teachers on standby to replace those on industrial action.
Final-year pupils at a good number of schools are lagging behind as December examinations fast-approach.
Heads at some learning institutions are taking classes.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said, “We should be doing that (docking salaries), but we had been very magnanimous and said let’s find common ground.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Dr Sifiso Ndlovu quipped: “As far as we are concerned, this issue must be taken seriously at the highest level and that is Cabinet. It must bring out something meaningful that can bring better life to teachers.”
Economist Dr Prosper Chitambara says the parties should “strike a balance”.
“There is need for common understanding in terms of how Government, Business and Labour can actually manage costs to ensure continued sustainability of the economy.”