by DANAI MWARUMBA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE Zimbabwean government is making frantic efforts to recruit thousands of personnel to avert a looming strike by teachers at
the beginning of the new academic year next week.
Government is seeking the services of 3 000 new teachers after professionals currently employed threatened to join doctors that have been on strike for weeks protesting low salaries and demanding improved working conditions.
Tumisang Thabela, Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, said the Public Service Commission has endorsed government plans to recruit.
“We are very excited with that because the recruitment will go a long way in reducing shortage of manpower that has continuously affected our ministry,” Thabela said.
The teachers are demanding salary hikes from the $500 (R7 170) per month to $3 000.
“Schools will not open if the demands we put forward to the government are not met,” Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general,
Raymond Majongwe, insisted.
He said teachers were bearing the brunt of rising basic goods and increasing transport costs.
“Government should act fast before schools open,” Majongwe said.
The impending strike comes amid industrial action by health workers in a country battling cholera and typhoid outbreaks.
Mthabisi Bhebhe, Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) secretary-general, said the strike would continue unless their needs were addressed.
Acting President Constantino Chiwenga, last week expelled the striking doctors.
Some striking rural teachers were arrested towards the end of the last school term in December.
Government’s recent decision to procure luxury vehicles for parliamentarians and traditional chiefs, despite ill-equipped schools and hospitals, has aggravated grievances by doctors and teachers.
- CAJ News