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PTUZ rejects ZWL$19k pay hike

… as cost of living nears 22k

LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

A section of teachers has rejected the new pay hike which saw the lowest paid teacher getting ZWL$19,000 per month, arguing that the amount is below the country’s cost of living parameters which is around ZWL$21,744 per month.

The rejection of the new salary by the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) comes at a time when other civil servants, including some teachers have agreed with the government’s new salary review on Monday to end months of class boycotts by teachers.

This also comes as Zimbabwe’s cost of living as measured by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe’s (CCZ) low income urban earner monthly basket for a family of six increased by 3.62% or ZWL$758.61 to ZWL$21,744.62 by end of October 2020 from ZWL$20,985.01 by the end of September 2020.

PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe told Business Times that teachers remain under paid as prices of goods and services continue to be beyond their reach, despite the recent pay hike by the government.

“What is ZWL$19,000 when utilities, goods and services are going up on a daily basis, we can’t even afford the basic basket for the family of six which is at around ZWL$22,000.

“We were getting between US$480 and US$520 per month two years ago and we can’t celebrate US$190 per month now, it’s actually an insult to us.

When (President) Mnangagwa assumed office two years ago he said the voice of the people is the voice of God and now the voice of God is saying make a pay rise now and he is turning deaf ear to us,” Majongwe said.

This week civil service representatives, the Apex Council reached an agreement which saw the lowest paid civil servant receiving over ZWL$14,000 ending the various months joint negotiations.

Majongwe said the government and Apex Council were “the same people who disguise themselves as two parties who negotiate for the betterment of workers”.

“What do you expect from the Apex Council, there are in the same group as the government, it’s just self-pollination of ideas.

There are imposters that claim to represent workers when in actual fact are advancing the government’s bad treatment of workers.

We are not going to work because we have been given ZWL$19,000 per month,” Majongwe said.

Apex Council hit back saying the council has helped workers to get a decent salary and better working conditions unlike other organisations that use workers’ unions for their personal and political gains.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima said the government continues to negotiate to improve working conditions of the workers.

“Government has done wonders to raise workers’ salaries over four times in less than six months.

Not long ago, civil servants were earning around ZWL$3,000 per month [which was US$30 monthly] to around ZWL$20, 000 per month [over US$200 monthly at official bank rate].

“We continue to negotiate with workers to give them around US$520 per month or equivalent by mid next year,” Mavima said.

He accused the PTUZ’s leadership of being composed of people that have been fighting and bent on criticising every position done by the government.

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