October 30, 2020

Zimbabwe teachers in salary climbdown

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Takudzwa Chihambakwe

School teachers in Zimbabwe could soon call off their job action if authorities accept their revised demand of monthly salaries of at least US$360.

This comes after teacher representatives met President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday. Another round of stakeholder meetings is lined up, with the National Joint Negotiating Council scheduled to convene next week.

Government is expected to table an “improved offer” at that interface.

The teachers pled “incapacitation” when schools opened last September and have been clamouring for a US$500 base salary.

Though undeclared, their failure to report for duty has widely been viewed as a strike with potential to encumber public examinations.

Their revised demand has ignited optimism in education circles that parties will find common ground.

An internal memo seen by ZTN gives the strongest indication that they are angling for at least US$360 per month.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Dr Sifiso Ndlovu was confident of breakthrough when ZTN spoke to him.

“We are expecting significant movement,” said Dr Ndlovu.

“We need to urgently address the issue of opening of schools. We must allow educators to go and do what they love best, which is teaching. The children are longing to learn.

“So, we are expecting something that will bring about that transformation. We hope there will be a meeting of minds.”

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said Government will table an “improved offer”.

“There is going to be a new Government position, but we cannot give details as yet. I am glad that the meeting is now taking place and I hope that Government and civil servants will find common ground.”

Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions secretary-general David Dzatsunga quipped: “…it’s difficult to say what we expect. We are just going there to hear what the Government is offering.

“We hope that they have an offer that is acceptable to the generality of the Civil Service.”

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