Teachers have demanded that the government pays them bonuses in United States dollars this year.
The government has revealed that it would pay civil servants the 13th cheque this month.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) president Richard Gundane said paying the 2021 bonus in foreign currency would help rescue teachers from incapacitation and poverty.
“So, beginning with the 2021 bonus, it is important that this bonus be paid in US dollar currency. It would be a way of compensating for the loss made from the beginning of the year up to the end of the year.
Mr. Gundane said paying teachers in a stable currency would motivate them during the public examination time when they are supposed to do invigilate candidates and other related duties.
He added: “In the wake of hyperinflation the best way going forward, and this is what is informed by the demand from educators in this country, is that salaries must be paid in a stable currency in US dollars. This the best way of ensuring that value is protected and that a living wage is guaranteed.”
Teachers have been demanding that the government pays them October 2018 salaries, with the lowest-paid earning USD$540 per month.
Mr. Gundane also said they want the employer to start paying them a “significant component” of their salaries in the US dollar currency, adding that the government should put in place a facility that “enables them to access the weekly $USD 50 from their Nostro accounts.”
“Going forward, from 2022 January onwards, a significant component of the monthly remuneration be guaranteed in US dollars and be accessible from the banks. This is going to provide a lasting solution since we have tried everything else in RTGS and clearly, it has failed.”
ZIMTA is also demanding that the salary for a Grade D level teacher of $USD 540 “be honored by November 2021 at the latest.”
The demands from teachers come at a time the local currency has continued to weaken against other currencies and foreign currency exchange rates, as well as inflation, have been on the rise. The rising inflation has caused salaries paid in the local currency to be significantly eroded.
Statistics from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) show that month-on-month inflation rose to 6.4 percent, while year-on-year inflation rose to 54.49 percent from 51.5 percent in September. Treasury has projected that annual inflation could reach a high of between 35 and 46 percent by end of this year, up from an initial projection of between 25 and 35 percent.