POLICE yesterday arrested at least 15 teachers for protesting poor salaries while a virtual meeting between civil servants and government was postponed due to connectivity problems.
Freelance journalist Marry Mundeya was also arrested, but was later released after the intervention of lawyers.
The protest came as government and civil servants were meeting to discuss salaries and welfare for 2022.
“We could not proceed with the virtual meeting because of connectivity challenges. Another issue is that the meeting is very important such that physical meetings are necessary to put across our issue,” Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions secretary-general David Dzatsunga said.
“We asked to postpone it and if all goes well, we should have a physical meeting.
“We are just basically looking at the United States dollar salary that is becoming more than an expectation, but it is becoming more of a right because we are looking at the economy and the economic dynamics and it is clearly pointing to the fact that RTGS salaries are no longer sustainable.”
He added: “Even if you look back at the bonus decision that the government made unilaterally out of its own wisdom that giving us RTGS salaries was not the correct way, this should spur it to push this into salaries after that realisation.”
Public Service minister Paul Mavima said he was on leave and could not comment on the salary talks between government and civil servants.
Police could not immediately confirm the arrest of protesting teachers, with Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tendai Mwanza saying: “I will have to check, but for now, I have not received such a report.”
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) leader Obert Masaraure was among the protesters who were arrested for demonstrating in Harare.
He confirmed his arrest.
In a statement, Artuz said a significant number of their members remained unaccounted for by last night.
“Mavima promised that 2022 is a good year for civil servants. Teachers nationwide are preparing to celebrate the restoration of the pre-October 2018 salaries. We hope the government gets it right this time so that we revive the classroom,” the rural teachers said.