…as Govt resist restoration of salaries to US$540
Tinaani Nyabereka / Ian Kadziya
GWERU – The teachers’ representative board Educators Union of Zimbabwe (EUZ) has urged Government to take time and assess the wellbeing of educators who are among the most affected by the difficult economic environment due to their meagre salaries.
EUZ was formed out of the ‘Teachers Can’t Breathe Movement’ (TCBM), a forum which came into being back in 2020 out of growing frustration with authorities’ failure to address their plight.
The union is reportedly the third largest existing teachers’ representative as it houses more than 3000 teachers across the nation.
Speaking to TellZim News after the educators’ engagement meeting in Gweru last week, EUZ president Tafadzwa Munodawafa said teachers’ measly salaries had degraded their status in society.
"We came into being as a result the deteriorating welfare of teachers. The salary of an ordinary teacher has been rendered meaningless and has turned him into a beggar.
"We believe the employer (government) is not doing much to address our welfare despite the pleas we made as teachers. In urban areas parents are sacrificing the little they have for children to go to private lessons. Teachers have become vulnerable to all sorts of offers or gifts and even bribes because they want to sustain themselves,” said Munodawafa.
She said shortage of adequate Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was another major challenge for educators.
"The equipment is not adequate and we therefore are not safe. When preparations were done regarding opening of schools on 22 March, we didn't hear a new plan or increase in quantities of that equipment and we now hear about coronavirus outbreak in schools, which is very worrying," she said.
EUZ vice president, Tapedza Zhou said the union demanded restoration of teachers’ salaries to US$540 as was the case before the introduction of bond notes.
"Our desire to emancipate ourselves and the whole teaching fraternity from poverty and impoverishment is therefore unquestionable. Since last year, we have demanded and we still are calling for the restoration of our salaries to US$540.
"Through our unity, we managed to put our employer between a hard place and a rock, and they yielded a little bit to our pressure but without at all addressing our prime call for restoration of our living wage," said Zhou.