|  NEWS

Zimbabwe’s teachers’ unions have criticised the government on the announcement of a 400% pay hike for the military and police.

The increase for security forces follows teachers rejecting a 50% increase in their local currency wages last week at the National Joint Negotiating Council. 

As it stands, teachers are the lowest-paid civil servants in Zimbabwe, earning around ZW$36,000 as well as a US$120 foreign currency component, ZimLive reports.

Head of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), Obert Masaraure, slammed the government for this move: “The 50% offered to other civil servants, including teachers, is a joke; unfortunately, we can’t laugh it off because families are starving. We will not allow the government to discriminate against any section of workers.”

He added: “To that end, we shall force the employer to pay teachers a living wage. US$1.260 is the minimum demand from teachers. Soldiers have guns, but we have our collective force as workers. The government is warned not to keep on stretching our patience. They will be faced with a tsunami of workers’ protests,” said Masaraure.

This was echoed by the secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Raymond Majongwe, who said it was unfair teachers got the short straw in regard to salary negotiations.

“We don’t challenge that soldiers have been paid, we celebrate that at least somebody has realised that soldiers are being underpaid, but then why then cherry-pick and choose soldiers over the teachers; why not give us the same,” he stated.

“Remember, in the past, teachers were the first to be paid. They have turned it around. They have paid the soldiers first, they have paid the police, they have paid the nurses and teachers who come last in that rank and file. That is unacceptable,” Majongwe added.

The government’s 400% pay hike for military and police is viewed as an attempt to maintain the security forces’ loyalty, typically used as the last line of defence against a government facing public rage over a spate of failures, Newsday Zimbabwe reports.

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