Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ is irked by the anti-worker budget presented by the Finance Ministry. The Union is calling for the third phase of the fight for salaries in United States dollars. This protest will also push for the restoration of bonus in full. Schools will shut down from 29th to 30th of November as teachers withdraw their labour in protest against the unfair labour practice of the government.

ARTUZ has set up a task force to engage other civil servants to join the protest.

The Finance Minister, Honorable Mthuli Ncube has aggravated civil servants woes by once again attacking welfare of the government workers. The Minister yesterday slashed government workers bonus and maintained that salaries will continue being paid in Real Time Gross Settlements, RTGS. He further introduced foreign currency import duty for vehicles. The workers have no option but to fight back.

Bonus for Civil servants is now going to be 100% of the paltry basic salary only. The average civil servant earn between 280 to 300 dollars as basic salary. In essence the government workers will receive an average of 290 dollars as 2018 bonus. This is a big blow to the workers who used to earn a 100% bonus on gross earnings. The gross earnings include allowances such as housing and transport allowance. The average civil servant received 500 dollars bonus in 2017 and the new development is a significant slash.

It must be noted that the annual bonus has always brought liquidity relief to the workers whose monthly incomes are often eroded by debt. The majority of civil servants are saddled by debt as they are forced to borrow to cover their monthly overheads. The real bonus is gone.

In October the Finance Minister officially confirmed that the United States dollars is not at par with our virtual Zimbabwean dollar which is in the form of RTGSs. The net effect has been the erosion of the Zimbabwean dollar by 350% on the market. In 2012 the government and its employees agreed on a salary structure that was to be paid in the United State dollars. The employer has unilaterally reversed the agreement in a clear case of unfair labour practice.

The government has introduced foreign currency duty for importation of vehicles. In short Civil servants are no longer allowed to import vehicles. This comes at a time when government is not improving provision of efficient public transport.

It is now clear that the incumbent government will not stop at anything to rob the working class of its humanity. Fighting back is now an imperative for all workers.

Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)