By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S largest teachers union has demanded the immediate payment of the educators’ wages in United States dollars after shop owners and service providers have been rejecting the fast weakening local bond note and electronic transfers.
In a statement Friday, Zimbabwe Teachers Association secretary general Tapson Nganunu Sibanda said teachers’ wages were below the poverty datum line adding that the current economic chaos has left them “incapacitated”.
“In light of the prevailing economic situation in the country, where service providers are demanding payments 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 said.
“Having observed that we have been hardest hit by the recent monetary pronouncements and measures, we are nolonger in a position to meet our daily monetary commitments and are therefore incapacitated.”
The demands follow Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s recent announcement of tough measures under his controversial Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
The economic blueprint, that has come with a 2 percent tax on all electronic transfers, has triggered rapid price increases and a surge in US dollar rates from the black market where it is readily obtainable.
Government, through Vice President Kembo Mohadi and Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi, has issued threats against businesses that have hiked prices beyond the reach of many and thrown the fragile economy into the abyss.
“Given the above,” Zimta said, “we as Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) are now calling for an immediate cushioning of teachers through payment of salaries in foreign currency. Failure to honour this demand will definitely result in unforeseen consequences from the teaching fraternity.
“Our demand is informed by the fact that teachers can nolonger afford to pay for daily commuting to work, buy food, rentals, and medical bills, as all service providers are demanding payments in foreign currency. 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.”