BULAWAYO – Teachers on Friday laid a demand on the government to immediately pay their salaries in foreign currency.
The largest teachers’ union, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), said the current salaries were too low and no longer worth much in the face of galloping commodity prices.
Teachers are paid in RTGS bond notes, whose value has taken a massive knock on October 1 following the announcement of a new monetary policy and a two-cent tax on every dollar transferred electronically.
The teachers threatened “unforeseen consequences” if their demands are ignored.
Teachers are paid an average $400, which arrives in their accounts as an RTGS balance. Low bank withdrawal limits and cash shortages limit the teachers’ access to the money.
“Having observed that we have been hardest hit by the recent monetary pronouncements and measures, we’re no longer in a position to meet our daily monetary commitments and are therefore incapacitated,” ZIMTA secretary general, Tapson Nganunu Sibanda, said in a statement.
“ZIMTA is now calling for an immediate cushioning of teachers through payment of salaries in foreign currency.”
“We as teachers in Zimbabwe, being the largest section of the civil servants, hereby demand to be paid our salaries in foreign currency forthwith.”
Sibanda claimed the teachers demands were justified looking at the recent price hikes that had impoverished most people.
“Our demand is informed by the fact that teachers can no longer afford to pay for daily commuting to work, buy food, rentals, and medical bills as all service providers are demanding payments in foreign currency,” he went on.
“The government must be reminded that teachers have already been earning below poverty datum line (PDL) salaries and as such were worse off before and are now incapacitated. Our current salaries can no longer sustain our mere existence as teachers in Zimbabwe.”
The secretary general warned government to heed their plight in order to maintain sanity in the education sector.
“We as ZIMTA believe that our demand to be paid salaries in foreign currency is justified as any further delays in doing so will destabilise the education sector,” Sibanda claimed.