Underpaid and restive Zimbabwe teachers have boldly told President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Government that they will only return to work until they start earning the pre-October 2018 salaries of at least US$540 per month, saying no amount of job-loss threats from their employer will change their resolve.

The declarations by the country’s defiant teachers come as Zimbabwe schools opened doors for the First Term on February 7 following a long, Covid-19 induced break.

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) this Wednesday said they will neither succumb to the threats from their cash-strapped employer, the Public Service Commission (PSC), nor the backtracking from other unions representing the labour concerns of their colleagues who have continued to bemoan incapacitation amid poor salaries and deteriorating working conditions.

“No learning is taking place in our schools,” said ARTUZ in a thread posted on the union’s official Twitter handle this morning. The threats from (PSC and) the backtracking of some Unions didn’t change anything.
We still call upon (Government) to genuinely (engage teachers and) find common ground. Our humble demand is the restoration of pre October 2018 salaries… Gvt should genuinely engage teachers”, said ARTUZ.
This also comes at a time when sharp divisions continue to rock the country’s various teacher unions, with some imploring on their members to conditionally return to work while others have adamantly resolved that the industrial action will continue.
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta), which is the most subscribed union, urged its 43 000-strong members to return to work, but other unions resolved to soldier on until the Harare administration complies with their perennial salary demands.
When schools opened on February 7, Government had responded to calls of industrial action by suspending the defiant teachers enmasse, a move that was quashed by a landmark High Court ruling.
Caught in sixes-and-sevens, Mnangagwa’s Government latter threatened to fire all the striking teachers who did not return to work by February 22.