Zimbabwe's Teachers to Strike

Earlier Teachers' Demonstration in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's teachers are set to strike at the beginning of the new term

The teachers are striking for a wage which is at least over the poverty line. Teachers earn between $250 and $320 a month - the minimum required to keep a family of four out of poverty is $500.

While the government says it has no money to pay the teachers it has given politicians $15,000 each in backdated allowances. The progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PUTZ) says the government is not negotiating in good faith and is joining with the other teaching union, the Zimbabwe Teachers Asssociation (ZIMTA) in an indefinite strike until their demands are met.

Last year the President of Zimbabwe - Robert Mugabe - promised to double the salaries of pulic servants using the income from Zimbabwe's diamonds - however this promise has never been fulfilled.

As this website reported late last year, parents in Zimbabwe are having to supplement teachers' meagre incomes in order for the teachers to be able to live and thus many poor people are being priced out of education. Behind the scenes the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are demanding that there be no increases for teachers and other public servants. As we said then:

As recently as June of this year, according the the Voice of America website: “The International Monetary Fund says Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to increase the salaries of state workers as President Robert Mugabe has promised, warning that a rise in compensation could seriously damage the country’s economic prospects.

“An IMF team that just completed a week-long mid-year budget review issued a statement saying public sector pay can only be increased in 2012 after a wider consultative process including business, government and civil servants”

Leaders of the teaching unions point out that it is the disastrous structural adjustment programmes foisted on Zimbabwe by the IMF, which effectively destroyed the economy in the early 1990s. Meanwhile the IMF and its brother organisation the World Bank purport to be pursuing the so-called Millennium Development Goal of Education for All by 2015.

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