Teachers' Strike On June 21

Harare, – The militant Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PUTZ) has called for a crippling strike on 21 June if the government fails to award civil servants promised salary hikes.\r\n

Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of PUTZ, said the strike was imminent after government negotiations last Wednesday failed to put an offer on the table.

“The outcome of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting is profoundly disillusioning and does not help the long suffering teachers to manage their hopes. After investing deep trust in unending negotiations, our degrees of freedom are now limited and the only option left is to dialogue through a strike,” said Majongwe.

In April, President Robert Mugabe promised civil servants a salary hike premised on the proceeds of the sale of Marange diamonds but nothing has come to fruition.

Majongwe said if parliament approved a US$98 million loan for the construction of a Defence College, “surely the same parliament can approve another loan for reviewing civil servants salaries.”

“The immediate risk facing us is the exclusion in the 2011 mid-term budget. The nation should know that teachers shall go on strike from 21st of June if Poverty Dictum Line indexed salaries are not deposited into their accounts. They shall walk from the bank to the battle,” he said.

Finance minister Tendai Biti is under fire for allegedly thwarting salary increments for civil servants. However Biti is adamant that the government is technically broke.

President Mugabe has allegedly ordered Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to direct Biti to avail funds to pay civil servants. Biti is on record as saying he has not received a cent from the sale of diamonds. On Saturday night unknown assailants threw a bomb at his residence in Harare as pressure mounts on him to open the government’s purse.