HARARE, JAN 23 — Zimbabwe public sector workers on Wednesday announced their intention to strike if government fails to address their demand for a salary hike by Friday this week.
The umbrella body of the civil servants, the Apex Council, on Jan. 8 gave notice to go on an industrial action and the 14-day notice will expire on Jan. 28.
Apex Council secretary David Dzatsunga told reporters that the offer from government so far fell short of their demands.
“On the expiry of the notice period on Friday, the Apex Council will not be liable for whatever happens thereafter,” Dzatsunga said.
Dzatsunga also raised concern at the alleged victimization of teachers in rural areas by some political party activists, and urged the government to urgently address the matter.
“We note with concern the victimization of government workers by some non-government parties and actors. Government should ensure that issues of terms and conditions be left to the government and its employees,” he said.
Addressing the same press conference, Secretary-General of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe Raymond Majongwe alleged that ruling ZANU-PF activists were involved in the victimization of the teachers.
“ZANU-PF party activists are visiting schools in rural areas and getting names of teachers and log-in sheets. They have set up bases at some schools to see which teacher is there and not and who is teaching and not. We say no to victimization of teachers by anybody in our schools,” Majongwe said.
Zimbabwe’s civil servants have been calling for wage increases following a sharp rise in the cost of living, which has been exacerbated by the recent massive hike in fuel prices.
The workers want the lowest paid worker to earn a monthly salary of 1,733 dollars, up from the current 414 dollars.
The threat of strike by the government employees came after junior doctors at government hospitals went on a month-long strike in December last year to press for salaries in U.S. dollars.
Government said it could not afford to pay the salaries in hard currency.
Zimbabweans last week also took to the streets to demonstrate against the increase in fuel prices and the general economic meltdown.
The violent protests resulted in the death of three people, looting of shops and widespread destruction of property. – XINHUA