Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
TEACHERS have petitioned Parliament demanding that Government immediately releases a teacher salary rescue package of US$200 on top of their RTGS salaries saying earnings have been eroded by inflation.
Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda on Tuesday advised Parliamentarians that he had received the petition from the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).
“I wish to advise the House that on June 14, 2019, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from the Zimta and PTUZ beseeching Parliament to ensure that the Government reviews teachers’ salaries according to the prevailing inflation and interbank market rates.
“The associations have said they want teachers to be paid at least US$200 in addition to their RTGS dollar salaries,” said Advocate Mudenda.
He said the petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
In an interview yesterday, Zimta president Mr Richard Gundane said Government must urgently pay the rescue package.
“Schools are also under great pressure and financial stress. Government should consider strengthening safety nets to protect the learner’s right to quality education in keeping with SDG 4.
“SDG 4 calls for inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all. Education is a fundamental human right and is indispensable for the achievement of sustainable development,” said Mr Gundane.
Last month, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube told Parliament that Government will continue to engage civil servants and adjust their salaries against the prevailing inflation levels but not the foreign currency exchange rate.
Responding to MPs questions, Prof Ncube said Government cannot benchmark its workers’ salaries on the RTGS dollar exchange rate to the United States dollar.
Minister Ncube said Government had recorded surplus revenue in both RTGS and US dollars, which has benefited civil servants and other humanitarian needs such as Cyclone Idai relief efforts.
“First of all, when you think of salary adjustments for the civil servants, we never benchmark to an exchange rate to the USD in which case he’s used a parallel market rate of 1:8. We don’t do that. We try to bench mark salaries to the inflation level and that is how it ought to be done,” he said.
“Secondly, should we give civil servants an increase in line with the exchange rate which some Members of Parliament are mentioning? The answer is no. We’ll continue to engage the civil servants and it will be an increase that begins to ameliorate against the current levels of inflation and we’ll continue to engage them so that we can adjust their emoluments both in monetary and non-monetary terms.”