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Teachers stage sit in as schools open for 2024, demand US$1,200 salary

by Staff reporter
10 Jan 2024 at 06:00hrs | Views
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has asserted that its members nationwide participated in a sit-in on the first day of the 2024 school calendar to protest against inadequate salaries and unfavorable working conditions.

The union has called for the government to raise the minimum wage, advocating for an increase from the current US$300 monthly pay to US$1,260. ARTUZ reported that teachers reported for duty but adhered to the directive not to work until the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education responds to the demand for a three-fold salary hike, addressing the escalating cost of living.

In a statement posted on its Twitter handle, ARTUZ stated, "We are waiting for @MoPSEZim (Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education) to confirm to the world that morale is very low among teachers, and today they took heed of the call to sit in. We hope the government announces a salary review soon so that teaching and learning can resume in schools."

Last week, the union cautioned that educators were struggling due to the current situation marked by rampant inflation. In a letter addressed to government ministries, the Public Service Commission (PSC), and Treasury, ARTUZ Secretary-General Robson Chere pleaded with authorities to prioritize teachers' welfare, emphasizing the need to incentivize tutors for quality education.

ARTUZ argued that the proposed minimum wage of US$1,260 was crucial for fairness and strategic investment in the education system, considering the prevailing inflationary trends. The union asserted that a salary increase was vital to retaining experienced educators and attracting new talent to the profession, ultimately contributing to enhanced education quality.

The union dismissed the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) as an ineffective platform for salary negotiations, urging the government to establish alternative channels for meaningful dialogue with teachers' representatives.

Key resolutions from a recent Working Committee meeting included advocating for teachers to continue the sit-in until a salary review is announced, organizing #BusStopProtests for State-funded education, and refusing to teach the outdated curriculum beyond February 1, 2024.

Efforts to obtain comments from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson, Taungana Ndoro, were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.

Source - newzimbabwe