The financially bankrupt Robert Mugabe administration has set itself on yet another collision course with teachers as they were paid less than US$10 this month. Teachers have hit back by declaring that they would boycott class when the new school term begins next week.
On Tuesday teachers found salary deposit of Z$29 trillion which is less than US$10. It is just enough to buy only 10 loaves of bread. They had demanded to be paid not less than US$2 000.
The militant Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general Raymond Majongwe the new salary is an “insult and a mockery” promising the union that has led previous strikes by teachers would call on all its members to boycott classes when schools open next Tuesday.
“The salary of $29 trillion for January is in essence an insult and mockery. What in reality can the salary do in light of sky-rocketing prices of basic needs, accommodation, transport, education and health costs?” said Majongwe. “The strike (next week) is about the misery of teachers. Without money there is no going back to work.”
Very little learning took place at public schools in 2008 as teachers spent the better part of the year striking for more pay or sitting at home because they could not afford bus fare to work on their meager salaries.
The new school term was initially set to start on January 13, but the government moved the date to January 27, citing failure by the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Councils to complete marking of last year’s public schools examinations. Delays in marking examinations were because senior teachers would not mark them until their were paid more allowances.
Last week, soldiers failed to access their January salaries on time after government failed to deposit them in their accounts. The soldiers started receiving their salaries only last weekend, amid reports that morale in the army was low after government said it had no money to pay them in foreign currency.
However the government reportedly assured the soldiers that it would soon pay them allowances in hard currency.