Soldiers in Zimbabwe (file photo).
A local teachers group has reacted angrily to government`s decision to selectively award “special allowances” to members of the security forces while leaving out the rest of the government workforce.
Reports this week linked the police, army and the Central Intelligence Organisation to a government pay hike ahead of the July 30 elections.
In separate letters, secretary to both commissions Pretty Sunguro said the police will get a 20% increase and while the Defence Forces will get 22,5% increment.
However, this decision has riled other members of the civil service, with teachers blaming government for its selective treatment of its employees.
“The increment which favours the armed forces at the expense of teachers is unfortunate and ill-informed and from a Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) position, we think that the government does not recognise the importance of teachers,” said PTUZ President Takavafira Zhou.
“The government believes that those who hold guns are important than teachers whom we feel are more important that soldiers.”
Zhou said government hiked salaries out of “fear of people who hold guns” and “aspect of abuse teachers who are playing an important role in schools”.
Zhou said it was unfair that they have to go through protracted negotiations while members of the security forces are awarded an increment without any struggle.
“We are not happy that soldiers are smiling when they go to the banks and they have not even negotiated but the teachers that have negotiated have been betrayed by the government and we want to remind the government that it remains the number one enemy towards sustainable education,” he charged.
Early this year, teachers were forced to the negotiation table with their employer, demanding 100 percent salary increment but government settled for 17.5 percent adjustment.
Zhou also dismissed media reports that teachers would receive $3000 windfall from government as mere politicking on the part government.
“There have been insinuations that teachers are going to get a windfall of about $3000, nurses got a windfall of about $6000 and in terms of allowances teachers are not getting anything,” said Zhou.
“We have crucial issues that would warrant us to get allowances like the bloated class allowance, class teacher allowance, sixth form allowance, even health allowance because they use chalk and dilapidated classrooms.”
He added that the underpayment of teachers was not by accident but by intention.