Teachers to stop work in Zimbabwe as government workers support strike

An empty classroom is seen at a school in Norton, 55 kms west of Harare, on January 28, 2009. Schools opened on January 27 with children having no lessons as the teachers demanded thier salaries in foreign currency. Getting the school year off the ground in Zimbabwe has been a rocky affair, as teachers launched straight into a strike over their salaries, some of which are now worth a mere three US dollars a month due to galloping inflation. AFP PHOTO / Desmond Kwande (Photo by DESMOND KWANDE / AFP)

Zimbabwe’s main public sector union have reconsidered an earlier decision to embark on a national strike.

The union took into account the volatile situation in Zimbabwe after security forces cracked down on protestors this month but says teachers will not work.

The Zimbabwe Teachers Union (ZIMTA) and Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said in a joint statement that over 55,000 of its members will not report for duty from next Tuesday.

Observers say this exposes a split between the education sector and the rest of the civil service.

With no headway on wage negotiations between the government and the Apex Council, which represents 17 public sectors, the unions picked a date for the strike, announced it, but issues remained unsettled

“Apex feels that it’s not conducive to take action,” Cecilia Alexander, Apex Council’s chairwoman said

“The situation is volatile and polarized and the action we take may be hijacked for issues which have nothing to do with labour.”

305,000 government workers in Zimbabwe are demanding wage rises and payments in dollars to help them withstand soaring inflation and economic crisis

Unions have traded accusations of being paid by the opposition and donors to go on strike and cause violence.

Zimbabweans say Emmerson Mnangagwa is failing to deliver on pre-election promises to provide accessible health, education and jobs to the majority which is leading to a growing frustration that analysts say could trigger further unrest.

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