President Emmerson Mnangagwa says his government will stop paying more than 100,000 teachers currently boycotting classes demanding salaries of more than US$520 per month.
According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Mnangagwa, who made remarks at the Mutare border post at a public event, said the striking teachers should seriously consider going back to work.
He was quoted as saying, “I have heard that after schools reopened in Manicaland, only 30 percent of teachers have reported for duty. Let me assure all of you that government will never be held to ransom by the teachers. By failing to report for duty, they think they will push us to do what they want. No, we are very principled on that. However, we are happy that some have gone back to work. We will apply the principle that those who work will get paid. Those who are at home are not considered to be at work.”
Education Minister, Cain Mathema, recently told VOA Studio 7 that he was not aware of the teachers’ strike but acknowledged in an interview with the state media that a large number of teachers were engaging in the industrial action, which started last Monday.
Teacher’s unions have urged the Mnangagwa government to address their grievances instead of threatening to stop paying them and some unspecified action.
Sifiso Ndlovu, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, said in a statement that teachers remain incapacitated following a meeting with government officials on Monday, which turned into what he termed a “consultative forum” as Mathema and Public Service Minister Paul Mavhima told their representatives that they would “highlight their grievances” in the next Cabinet meeting.
The government says it does not have United States dollars to pay civil servants, who are struggling to make ends meet due to the devaluation of the Zimbabwe bond note.