Zimbabwean Teachers Strike Over Poor Salaries and Working Conditions
Thousands of Zimbabwean teachers strike over poor salaries and unsafe working conditions soon after examination classes resumed face to face learning this week. Teachers are protesting that their salaries are below the poverty level and also about the lack of personal protective equipment against COVID-19. Teachers fear that classrooms may turn into Covid-19 superspreaders due to lack of PPE.
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) promised to call off the strike as soon as the government addresses their concerns. ARTUZ Secretary-General, Robson Chere said:
"And there is negligence on the part of the authorit(ies) to make sure that there is enough safety to guarantee our teachers and learners from the pandemic.
"They should have been providing adequate water supply, enough PPEs. Arcturus Primary School, which is down here, hasn’t even water. It’s messy. It’s a disaster. We are sitting on a time bomb for both learners and teachers.
According to VOA reports, some students around Harare have been going to school since Monday to try and learn among themselves in groups as there are no teachers.
Taungana Ndoro, director of communications and advocacy at Zimbabwe’s Education Ministry, however, says the government has been working to ensure classrooms are safe. He said:
"We have been putting in new infrastructure to ensure that we decongest the existing infrastructure to ensure that there is social and physical distancing for the prevention and management of Covid-19."
Since 2019, teachers have been embarking on industrial actions to force the government to restore their pre-2018 salaries that were around US$500.