12 November 2018

Zimbabwe: Teachers Demand Salaries in US Dollars

Photo: New Zimbabwe
Teachers protest in Harare.

Hundreds of teachers staged a one-day strike Friday in Zimbabwe's capital of Harare, demanding to be paid in U.S. dollars, the most desired form of currency in the economically struggling country.

Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union, led the strike, saying President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government was not attending to their concerns.

"The most important aspect is to communicate to the government that teachers are suffering. We are not happy, we are suffering," Majongwe said. "We have issues and grievances that must be addressed."

Zimbabwe has used American, British and South African currency for the past decade, after the Zimbabwean dollar became worthless due to hyperinflation.

The government introduced a new currency called bond notes two years ago, but those are losing value amid a general shortage of cash, rising prices and increasing shortages of essential goods.

The 500 marching teachers tried on Friday to get a meeting with Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube, but to no avail.

However, they were able to enter the Premier Medical Aid Society, which is responsible for government workers' medical treatment.

"Premier Medical Aid Society is struggling to deal with our challenges," Majongwe said, adding that members are not getting timely treatment, and are often told they must pay in U.S. dollars.

Arthur Choga, the spokesman of the organization, said the teachers are free to express themselves, and said the society will continue "engaging" with the teachers.

The president and his advisers have tried to assure Zimbabweans the economy is stable, but prices continue to climb, raising fears of an economic meltdown.

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