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Headmasters confront govt over Zimdollar salaries

by Staff reporter
03 Jan 2024 at 05:30hrs | Views
HEADMASTERS from government schools across Zimbabwe have put their employer on notice to press for United States dollar salaries starting from the forthcoming term.

School heads and teachers are currently earning at least US$300 and about ZWL$600 000.

Zimbabwe schools are preparing to open for the first term next week.

However, in a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe National Union of School Heads (Zinush) secretary-general Munyaradzi Majoni said the local currency component was eroding their benefits because it was being affected by inflation.

"We take note of the recent monetary statements which are to the effect that the US dollar allowance shall be pensionable come January 2024," majoni said.

"By implication, our members who are retiring from 2024 are expected to get lump sums in USD. We acknowledge this movement by the employer. However, we take this as a case of too little too late. In the shortest possible time, our salaries and allowances must be entirely in hard currency so that we get value for our hard labour!"

Over the past five years, teachers have been engaging in endless strikes to force the government to pay them better salaries.

Majoni called for unity among school heads as they press for improved working conditions.

"Meanwhile, we shall continue to fight for our welfare in 2024 and the least we expect from the entirety of our membership is unity," he said.

"Our assurance is that 2024 will be busier for the Union than the previous years and you shall be advised of a definite programme early in the year."

The school heads also raised concerns over government's recent decision to pay school fees for teachers' children as an incentive to cushion them from the high cost of living.

"Members are expected to be aware of the school fees facility which came as a result of sustained efforts by our union, with the support of sister unions in education.

"Zinush acknowledged the introduction of the facility, but immediately voiced its concern on the implementation matrix which was both discriminatory, requiring that one needed to have children in school and laborious as it involved submission of invoices every term among many other processes.

"We wrote to the employer recommending that this facility needed to be accessed by all in education as has been the case with some sector specific allowances in other departments," Majoni added.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Congress of Public Sector Trade Union (ZCPSTU) deputy chairperson Goodwill Taderera yesterday said all government workers were not happy about Zimdollar earnings.

"The advocacy by school heads to have salaries paid exclusively in United States dollars is something that we have always been pushing for as the ZCPSTU.

"We do not want the RTGS local currency component. The aspect of having hybrid salaries has serious problems. For instance, one goes to the bank and withdraws US dollar salary and then goes to the street to try and convert the RTGS to US$, wasting productive time where one should be working in the office. Workers are converting the Zimdollar salary to US dollars because they do not want it to be eroded by inflation," he said.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure also said the local currency component on salaries does not make sense as the economy has essentially dollarised.

"Government has pegged fees structure in US dollars in admission that the US dollar is the convenient currency. Therefore, earnings should be in US dollars in entirety.

"Workers are being robbed of their earnings because of the two tier earning system where the currency is being affected by inflation," he said.

Source - newsday