Zimbabwean teachers, who argue that they are tired of the unfulfilled promises of improved remuneration from their employer, have given the government a one-week ultimatum to attend to their concerns or they will embark on a crippling labour strike.

According to a report carried by the privately-owned NewsDay, on Tuesday, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) notified President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Government of their intentions to down tools if the Harare administration fails to address their concerns in seven days.

“We are determined for an industrial action, unless our grievances are addressed, and we officially handed our letter to government on Tuesday,” Artuz president Obert Masaraure was quoted by the NewsDay as saying.

Asked on the matter, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima, said he was out of the country and could therefore not comment on the issue since he hadn’t seen the letter from the country’s underpaid educators.

On the other hand, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou pledged unity with Artuz, saying:

“Our belief is that we need to be united as teachers and approach the government as a united front. If nothing happens, we are also going on industrial action as we are not happy with the deductions on teachers’ payslips. We are under-paid”.

Weighing in, PTUZ secretary-general, Raymond Majongwe said:

“The government is taking too long to address our grievances. I believe it is now good at infuriating teachers. I believe Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is a victim of forgetfulness. If they fail to meet our demands this coming June, we will demonstrate as provided by the Constitution.”

Teachers have perennially demanded for the restoration of the pre-October 2018 salaries of a monthly minimum wage of US$540.

However, Minister Ncube last week told Parliament that a salary demand of US$540 by government teachers was misleading, saying the educators used to earn half of the amount in 2018.