Firebrand teachers group, Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Unions of Zimbabwe ARTUZ, famed for embarking on a 275km march to press for improved wages, on Tuesday said they were now turning to wearing black during paydays to protest poor salaries.
This was revealed by union president Obert Masaraure while talking to NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday.
Masaraure said teachers under the group are set to wear black on their payday this Friday and will convene at Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s offices in central Harare to air their grievances.
The protest, dubbed ‘MournDay’ has been set aside to mourn the “death” of the teachers’ poor salaries.
“We are mourning the erosion of our salaries,” said Masaraure.
“Our salaries were reduced from US$500 to around $30 (US) which has reduced us to paupers.
“On Friday 23 August, we will be mourning at Mthuli’s office.
“We also note the arrogance of Finance Minister Ncube who has the audacity to lie to the world that teachers and other civil servants are happy with current slave wages.
“And from Friday, teachers will be conveying at Ministry of Finance offices every pay day to mourn the death of our salaries. Mourners should wear black as we send a clear message to Mthuli that we are not happy and we demand immediate restoration of the value of our salaries.”
Masaraure said the so-called Pay Day Funerals (PDF) will be held monthly in Harare and will later be devolved to other regions of the country.
Teachers under the ARTUZ, although forming a smaller section of the entire teachers movement in Zimbabwe, has caused all the headaches for government through relentless demands for a wage review.
In December last year, union leaders marched for 275 kms from Mutare to Harare in an unprecedented protest to demand their salaries to be restored to US dollars.
They were later to camp at the New Government Complex where Ncube’s offices are.
In 2016, they marched from Mutawatawa district Mashonaland East province to Harare, a 200km distance demanding that the government improve their working conditions.