Eight Teachers unions recently demanded an urgent meeting with the government over salaries which they say now fall far below the poverty datum line of $5 551.
The unions are demanding US$550 monthly salary and have threatened not to go back to work unless the government revised their remuneration.
Last week, teachers told Parliament that they would not be ‘frog-marched’ into going back to schools if the government did not give them COVID-19 risk allowances and respect all their demands for personal protective equipment, sanitisers, thermometers and test kits among other necessities.
“Government must urgently convene a meeting with all teachers unions with a view to sharing ideas on the way forward before the opening of schools post the COVID-19 period,” the joint statement from the unions read.
They should engage all teachers unions with a view to urgently review salaries for teachers, consider putting in place meaningful education sector-specific allowances that are commensurate with their responsibilities and status and treat the issue of the review of teachers’ salaries as an urgent matter.”
The unions also called for de-bunching of teachers’ salaries considering that it must be a function of their qualifications, responsibilities and experiences.
“Government must pay teachers’ salaries in US dollars, which they used to earn before October 2017 in line with the purchasing power parity principle. They must be aware that there is nothing as dangerous as having underpaid teachers in the classrooms because teachers are role models of their communities and society. They must also pay an acceptable COVID-19 risk allowance to teachers as in essence they are frontline workers,” they said.