Struggling teachers have petitioned Parliament to deal with their low wages, saying most of them were now unable to report for duty as the economic situation continues to erode their earnings.

The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) and its sister association Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ), yesterday handed in their petition to Parliament so that lawmakers could force the Executive to pay them better salaries.

The teachers want government to pay a cushioning allowance in United States dollars to every teacher over and above their soon-to-be reviewed RTGS salaries.

“The petition presented by the teachers’ unions, is seeking for the intervention of legislators in facilitating that teachers’ low salaries and allowances that are paid in RTGS$ should also be reviewed and paid in full, considering of the inter-bank rate because the same salaries were computed on contracts which were consummated before the announcement of the Reserve

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Bank (of Zimbabwe) monetary policy which sought to review, the exchange rate,” said a statement issued by the educators.

“Ongoing talks between civil servants who are represented at APEX Council level and the government have been consistently failing to yield results for a period spanning over seven years.

The present scenario in salary negotiations does not provide for sectoral labour bargaining processes, as a result, civil servants negotiate for salary reviews as a collective, and in the process, the unique needs of specialised fields such as teaching are not given prominence at the National Joint Negotiating Forum,” the statement read.

Outlined in the petition was also the fact that the teachers want Parliament in line with its oversight and legislative role of protecting the provisions of the Constitution and national interests, to undertake, insist and ensure that the State promptly reviews, calculates and pay teachers’ salaries in line with the current rate of inflation.

Teachers in Zimbabwe make the largest percentage of the restive civil servants, whose wages and salaries have been wiped by the rising inflation that has hit Zimbabwe for the past several months.

The teachers want Parliament to establish a legislation that allows for sectoral collective bargaining systems, a process that they anticipate to bring relief to ineffective labour bargaining processes.