Zimbabwe teacher unions said they would be undertaking industrial action starting February 5. Picture: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

Durban - The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA) said in a joint statement on Thursday that they would be undertaking industrial action starting Tuesday, February 5. 

"This essentially means our members will be withdrawing their services/labour and will not be reporting for duty with effect from the said date," said the statement. 

ZIMTA is the largest teacher union in the country, with a membership of 44 000, while PTUZ represents 15 000 teachers and lecturers. 

The unions said they were "irked" that the government was offering "meagre salary adjustments" and "cushioning allowances", which were "akin to a slap in the face of our membership as they are far from addressing the economic challenges faced". 

The unions had afforded government countless meetings to dialogue on and resolve grievances, said the statement, including the inability to stretch salaries to meet staunch increases in basic commodities and services. 

The unions had declared incapacitation on behalf of its members since the opening of schools on January 8, and said it needed to restore the dignity of teachers by receiving salaries that were "meaningful" and above the poverty line. 

Zimbabwe has been reeling in the aftermath of widespread protest action that left 12 citizens dead and many more injured, allegedly at the hands of military and police. Citizens took to the streets earlier in the month to protest a 150% increase in fuel prices, which led to the widespread crackdowns. 

African News Agency (ANA)