For the first time ever, the two largest teacher unions in Zimbabwe have come together to defend the teaching profession and call for a teachers’ strike to obtain a salary increase from the government.
In a joint statement signed and dated 31 January, the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) General Secretary Raymond Majongwe and the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA) General Secretary Tapson Nganunu Sibanda have called for industrial action.
They deplore the lack of any real possibility to engage in dialogue with public authorities to solve issues raised by their unions’ members, including the erosion of purchasing power and the increase of prices of basic commodities and services.
They also deeply regret that the government is only “offering meagre salary adjustment” and hardly increasing allowances, which they compare to “a slap on the face of our membership as they are far from addressing the economic challenges faced”.
Noting that “the industrial dispute has escalated without any final resolution”, as well as “the need to restore the teachers’ dignity and to enable teachers to be empowered in every aspect of their lives by obtaining salaries which are decent and above the poverty line”, the union leaders have called on their members to exercise their right to strike and not report to work as of 5 February.