Teachers and other civil servants are planning to hold mass demonstrations across the country in protest over the high cost of living and poor remunerations as inflation continues to soar.
The Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) announced that they will hold a demonstration at the government office in Harare this Friday as the government remains unhinged over demands by its workers for salaries in US dollars.
In a statement, ZCPSTU organising secretary, Charles Chinosengwa, said finance minister Mthuli Ncube, the labour ministry and Parliament’s labour committee will be petitioned this Friday as civil engagements had failed to yield any positive result.
Another organisation, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz), accused the government of regularly backtracking on its promises.
Artuz president Obert Masaraure said they will take to the streets until their demands are met.
“We are determined for an industrial action, unless our grievances are addressed, and we officially handed our letter to the government on Tuesday,” he said.
Government workers have been demanding the reinstatement of their US$540 wage after it was scrapped by Ncube in October 2018, replacing it with Zimbabwe dollars which have continuously lost value.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou pledged unity with Artuz.
“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 underpaid,” he said.
PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe added: “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.”
The high inflationary environment and exchange rate disparities in the market have left civil servants barely able to afford basic goods and services.
Nurses, teachers and police officers are earning about ZW$19 000, less than US$100 on both the black market and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) exchange facility.
Poor wages and working conditions have already seen the government losing manpower in the education and health sectors to well off countries, mainly the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, tertiary education students under the Zimbabwe National Students Union banner are mulling a demonstration against telecoms giants, Telone over the recent hikes in tariffs.
ZINASU spokesperson, Allan Chipoyi, said the new tariffs being charged are illegal. TelOne Centre, which had been charging US$55 000 per semester, is now demanding ZW$186 000 or US$600, an exchange rate
“Our standing point is very clear, we are by no means tolerating that and whatever the rate they are using is not the official interbank rate, so by that, they are violating the Exchange Rate Control Act.
“By charging such exorbitant fees, they are trying to encompass a few students and leave out the other lot who do not have enough resources to sponsor their education,” said Chipoyi.
“We are going to demonstrate against this and take the legal course. We will challenge them in court because education is a fundamental right.
“To an ordinary student, this simply means they are no longer going to attend school,” added Chipoyi.