Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) said that its members will not report for duty this term until the government commits to paying their salaries in US dollars. The strike is set to start on January 8.
In a statement released on Saturday, ZIMTA president Richard Gundani said:
Our members are unable to report for duty with effect from the 8th of January due to incapacitation.
To enable the teachers to report for work and to subsist, we demand the payment of salaries in US dollars.
We as … believe that our demand to be paid salaries in foreign currency is justified as any further delays in doing so will destabilise the education sector.
Our demand is informed by the fact that teachers can no longer afford to pay for daily commuting to work, buy food, rentals, and medical bills as all service providers are demanding payments in foreign currency.
The government must be reminded that teachers have already been earning below poverty datum line (PDL) salaries and as such were worse off before and are now incapacitated.
Our current salaries can no longer sustain our mere existence as teachers in Zimbabwe.
The current salaries, which are low and distorted, have driven teachers into poverty and incapacitation.
The other two major teachers’ unions, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) have since made similar demands and threatened not to return to work when schools open for the new year this Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the government has since rejected striking doctors’ demands to be paid in foreign currency. The government said that it does not print the greenback.