News / Africa

Negotiations to End Zimbabwe Strike Fail

Peta Thornycroft

Wage negotiations between Zimbabwe's government and civil servants broke down Wednesday and many public workers - teachers in urban areas, in particular - say they will continue their strike for better pay. The public service strike is the first serious work stoppage by government employees since the inclusive government came to power three years ago.

Zimbabwe's unity government has offered public workers a $240 million package which would mean an average salary increase of $87 a month for the government's 230,000 employees. Workers are demanding a much bigger raise that would take their basic wage from $250 per month to $538.  

The latest government offer was rejected by the public service trade unions.  Teachers make up about a third of the public work force, and most of them, especially in urban areas, began to strike Monday.

Veteran trade union leader Raymond Majongwe, who leads the Progressive Teachers' Union, said the government has only recently agreed to collective bargaining for wage disputes. He said when the unions met with government representatives on Wednesday, the government side failed to conduct professional negotiations.

“If we are going to go through a proper collective bargaining program, let it be done the normal way," said Majongwe. "It is done so each side produces a position paper. Each side is there representing concerns.”

He also accused public servants who continued to work of being corrupt.

Education minister David Coltart has regularly said he wants teachers to be paid more.

But Finance Minister Tendai Biti says Zimbabwe’s cash economy cannot afford an increase in salaries.  He said it cost $300 million to meet public service salaries and year-end bonuses last November.

While Zimbabweans have regularly demonstrated commitment to education for their children, few are blaming teachers for going on strike.

One parent in Harare said teachers have the responsibility to shape children’s lives and should be paid a living wage.

“These are people who are offering a national duty to the nation," said the parent. "Let us look at teachers. They have to develop our children to become leaders, entrepreneurs and then you give them a slave wage. It should go with the integrity that goes with the profession.”

Trade unions said civil servants would strike until Friday.  Since negotiations broke down Wednesday, the trade unions have not revealed whether the strike will continue next week.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid