Zimbabwe teachers threaten pay strike

1 Feb 19

Zimbabwe’s main teaching union has given the government an ultimatum in a pay dispute by threatening to strike next Tuesday if no progress is made.

The threat comes on the eve of crunch wage negotiations between President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and public sector unions and raises the prospect of more unrest following violent protests in January.

A proposal by the government to raise civil servants’ pay by 10% was rejected by public service unions last month.

Zimbabwe is experiencing a severe cash shortage, which has thrown its financial system into disarray.

With not enough physical currency to back up funds showing in bank accounts in the African country, the value of electronic money has plummeted.

Public sector workers are demanding to be paid in US dollars, and are also protesting their working conditions.

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation hit a 10-year high of 31% in November after prices of goods spiked and a shortage of dollars made imports expensive.

The government has plans to cut the fiscal deficit by more than half to 5% of GDP this year.

It has also said it would cut the wage bill to 70% of the budget from more than 90% previously.

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