Teachers petition Mugabe, mull strike

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The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) Friday sent a petition to President Robert Mugabe demanding an improvement in teachers’ salaries and conditions of service.

The petition was sent at the end of the association’s 30th annual national conference held at a Harare hotel this week.

Zimta chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu, confirmed the development although he said he could not comment on it until he was sure the petition had reached the President’s Office.

Teachers who attended the conference said they wanted the President to ensure they got salaries above the poverty datum line.

The teachers said they were unhappy with the government’s delay in addressing their welfare and some of them, led by Mashonaland West province, threatened to go on strike when the second term opens.

“We however agreed to shelve the strike until at least in June, to see if the President sticks to his promise to review our salaries,” said one of the delegates.

Among the resolutions made by the teachers are: “That government pays teachers salaries well above the poverty datum line, that teachers in rural/remote areas and satellite schools be paid a hardship allowance and that the leadership continues to pressurise for better remuneration.”

Zimta also wants teachers-in-charge of infant classes in primary schools to be paid and that the posts be made substantive.

On conditions of service, the teachers demanded that housing and car loan schemes for civil servants be distributed fairly.

Teachers and other civil servants have been calling for a salary increment for a long time but the government has not addressed the matter, citing financial constraints.