The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) has declared that they will embark on industrial action when schools open next week, as their grievances have not yet been addressed by the government.
ZIMTA is the largest teacher trade union in Zimbabwe representing at least over 40 000 members across the country.
Concerns raised by the union which have forced their members to down their tools include salary erosion, inflated transport fares and the increased cost of living.
In a statement, ZIMTA Matabeleland North chapter announced that its members will not report for duty when schools open for the first term next week.
“Salaries have been eroded averagely to US2.50 a day which is far below the bread basket needs for a family of six,” said Tafadzwa Munodawafa, the provincial secretary.
Munodawafa said transport fares have also increased, making it difficult for their members to reach their workstations.
“In Matabeleland North transport costs have quadrupled beyond the reach of members. Example transport from Bulawayo to Tshongogwe, Lupane rose from $13 to $50. From Bulawayo to Pelandaba, Tsholotsho rose from $10 to $40. To Binga from Bulawayo, members are forced to pay $80 from $20,” he said.
The union highlighted that the cost of living does not tally with their salaries.
“Commodities have now gone up. Medication has three tier pricing system. Building materials are beyond the reach of all,” said Munodawafa.
“The cost of sending our children to school is proving to be impossible as uniforms are no longer affordable to a simple teacher. Boarding schools for our children are beyond reach”.
The teachers’ strike, if a success would follow that of doctors who have withdrawn their services calling on government to improve their conditions of service.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa was this week forced to cut short his annual leave to try and end the impasse.