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Zimbabwe Teachers Call Off Strike, to Return to Work Monday

Angry protesters barricade the main route to Zimbabwe's capital Harare from Epworth township on January 14 2019 after announced a more than hundred percent hike in fuel prices. Photographer: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

Zimbabwean teachers have called off a strike over pay that began Feb. 5 and will return to work tomorrow, two labour unions said, without giving a reason for the end to the industrial action.

The strike, which follows a stay away by state doctors and fuel price protests last month that left 12 dead, was marred by intimidation from military officials and politicians, the unions have previously said. Soldiers and local politicians visited schools and demanded the names of teachers who weren’t present, the unions said.

“The employer is thus advised to take advantage of this detente to introspect and come up with a well thought out meaningful and long lasting solution on the salary grievances,” the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said in a joint statement. They said further strikes could follow if a solution is not found.

Union officials estimated about three quarters of teachers heeded the call to strike. Teachers are demanding the government increase the lowest salaries to $1,700 from $400. The cash-strapped government, which is implementing austerity measures to rein in a yawning budget and rampant inflation, has baulked at their wage demands.

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