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Teachers gear up for strike

Staff Writer

THE Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) will meet next week to endorse a proposed strike following the expiry last week of a 14-day ultimatum to the government to increase teachers’ salaries b

y 100%.

Zimta secretary-general Dennis Sinyolo would not commit himself on what action the teachers’ body would take, saying there were options they were considering.

“It is premature for me to comment on that except to say industrial action cannot be ruled out if there is no movement on the government side,” Sinyolo said.

“It is indeed true that teachers’ patience has been stretched to the limit and it is critical for government to make an offer. We have requested for a 100% cost of living adjustment.”

Sinyolo said Zimta members would have the final decision. He said the ultimatum expired on September 15, the same day the Zimta executive met government officials.

He said government announced at the meeting that it had revised housing and transport allowances for civil servants.

He said Zimta has since asked for its members’ views on the issue.

Teachers who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said they were in full support of the proposed industrial action.

“This (strike) is the only language that government understands,” a high school teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

“If they refuse to accede to our demands then we will definitely take to the streets. We fully support our leaders on this one.”

It was not possible to obtain comment from Chigwedere. Government has in the past clashed with teachers over salaries and working conditions.

On average, primary and secondary school teachers take home between $900 000 and $1,2m a month.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has said an average family of five now needs a food basket worth $1,4 million a month.

A strike by teachers could disrupt public school examinations expected to commence in a fortnight.

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