A nationwide strike threatens to throttle the African nation of Zimbabwe after frustrated teachers’ unions threw their hands up and declared plans to hold a nationwide strike next week. This bold announcement follows slow negotiations over salaries with the government which reneged on several promises on the raising of pay and the set up of better working environments.
It is estimated that approximately 2.3 to 2.9 million U.S. dollars will be shelled out by the Zimbabwean government on salary adjustments and other payments.
The teachers’ unions stated that all teachers and instructors will be staying at their respective places of residence and away from both urban and rural schools which ope next week until the negotiations yield fruit.
It is not only the teachers who have been getting blown off by the government but also thousands of government workers who have been waiting a long time for their increased pay which Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe promised to double last year.
Zimbabwe’s government insisted that it was bankrupt and was trying to work on the salaries as fast as possible.
However the opposing sides, who also represent so called “ghost workers” on the government’s payroll, are dissatisfied and accuse the government of stalling on negotiations as long as possible with its false pleas of bankruptcy so that the adjusted salaries won’t be paid.
Ironically, the ghost workers were one of the main drivers behind current President Mugabe’s rise to the presidency.
Currently teachers earn pay equivalent, at most, to 350 U.S. dollars. Many unions are calling for appropriate adjustments for pay to be around 500 U.S. dollars in addition to “allowances” that would provide for housing and transportation.
Teacher unions have been protesting for years on the streets now but not on a grand scale which has been now promised.
Parents and families are fearing that their already-heavy tax burdens could be made heavier if the government wants to tax more so that it can get over its “bankruptcy”.