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Teachers to work 2 days a week, say to do away with formal wear dress code

Teachers will only work two days a week and will no longer abide by the formal dress code, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) declared on Friday.

The teachers announced the industrial action in a letter to the Public Service Commission declaring “incapacitation” owing to poor pay.

Doctors are in the second month of a strike after declaring that they were incapacitated on September 3.

The PTUZ said in its letter: “Teachers are failing to access basic needs that make them functional. Prices of basic goods and services have rocketed beyond the reach of the ordinary teacher. Our members are struggling to put food on the table.”

The PTUZ said “unbearable” transport, medicines and electricity costs had “accentuated the teachers’ plight.”

“Our humble and honest request to the government is simply a radical adjustment of teachers’ salaries to the last U.S. dollar salary paid, at the current interbank rate that is pegged at 15.8 today,” the PTUZ said.

Starting on Monday, October 21, teachers said the would be working a two-day week “at most”.

“Teachers would also like to advise and notify you that because of their plight, they will no longer be able to abide by the Strict Dress Code Rules as the little pittance that they are getting is not adequate to feed them and their families, let alone buy formal clothing,” the union said.

On Tuesday, a body representing public sector unions, including teachers but excluding the health and security sectors, said its members were unable to go to work because of soaring prices.

The Apex Council, which groups 14 public sector unions, said it had told the government on Monday that its 230,000 members no longer had the capacity to go to work.

The unions however stopped short of calling a strike to give the government more time to respond to their salary demands.

The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is grappling with triple-digit inflation, shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel and bread, and rolling power cuts that have hit mines and industry.

Government moves to end subsidies on fuel and electricity and a decision to re-introduce the Zimbabwe dollar have accelerated inflation and dimmed hopes of economic recovery.

Unions are demanding that government employees should be paid U.S. dollar-indexed salaries. They want the least-paid workers – who get 1,023 Zimbabwe dollars (US$67) a month – to receive the equivalent of US$475.

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