Zimbabwean teachers are currently earning Z60-billion a month — which crudely translates into the price of 12 tomatoes.
So if the illegitimate Robert Mugabe regime does not give them a massive pay hike then on July 22 their supposed next pay date or they will down their tools indefinitely, they have warned.
The militant Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) on Monday said they are demanding a raise of up to $20 trillion or US$500.
“We have written to the Public Service Commission demanding a salary increment of up to $ 20 trillion or US$ 500 before July 22 or we go on strike,” said Takavafira Zhou the PTUZ president. “The money that we are being paid is not enough to buy the barest of basic commodities.
“Teachers are now worse off than they were before the last salary increments because of the rampaging inflation which makes it even impossible to plan for tomorrow,” said Zhou.
Strikes staged by Zimbabwe’s teachers as well as nurses and doctors for better pay and working conditions have become routine in recent years, as the country grapples its worst ever economic crisis.
A shortage of the now worthless local currency has further choked Zimbabweans who are living on less than US$1 per day. Four out of five people are out of work, while a quarter of the country’s 12 million people are in urgent need of food aid.
The crisis blamed on mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe has driven thousands of skilled workers into neighbouring countries and as far as Great Britain and the United States in search of better pay and living conditions.
Zimbabwe employs about 108 000 teachers, but educationists say the country requires about 120 000 fully qualified teachers to ensure effective learning in schools.
According to PTUZ statistics 25 000 teachers left the country in 2007 alone.