Zimbabwe: Union tells Mugabe to reduce ministers not teachers

published 11 August 2015 updated 12 August 2015

The Zimbabwe Teachers' Association has firmly condemned plans by the national government to greatly reduce the wage bill in the public sector, including education.

The Zimbabwe’s Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that the government was increasingly finding it hard to pay the over 500,000 governmental workers.

The Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA), an Education International (EI) affiliate, warned that targeting poorly paid employees would not help address the problem.

It stressed that the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe must first reduce the size of his Cabinet before cutting back civil servants.

The ZIMTA Chief Executive Sifiso Ndlovu said the jobs cuts should include all public service structures, underlining that “when cutting the wage bill, they should look at the entire size of government: that is the ministers, the high-ranking officials and the governmental expenditures”.

He went on to explain that “the idea of firing a low-ranking worker such as a teacher, for example, in order to cut the wage bill does not read well”.

At least 3,000 teachers have been taken off the payroll and did not receive their salaries in July as they were not present at their work stations when the government conducted a head-count of its personnel in April to prevent the existence of ghost workers. Most of the affected teachers were on study, maternity, vocational or sick leaves, while others were travelling after communicating with their superiors.