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Zimbabwe teachers call off strike: union
Agence France-Presse
September 22, 2009

Zimbabwe teachers, who went on strike over salaries at the start of the new school term three weeks ago, returned to work on Monday after their union called off the boycott.

"We have called off the strike with effect from today and this morning we saw a lot of movement of teachers going back to work," Tendai Chikowore, president of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), told AFP.

The union called the strike after the unity government formed seven months ago failed to resolve their grievances, especially over salaries. But many teachers ignored the strike, apparently convinced that the government had little money to offer.

Chikowore said the union called off the strike because they were pleased with the progress of negotiations with the government.

"We feel we should give the discussions a chance," he said.

"The other reason is that the strike has been politicised and some people are trying to gain mileage by interfering with the strike," Chikowore said without elaborating.

Government school teachers in Zimbabwe earn 165 US dollars (114 euros) a month, but were demanding at least 502 dollars.

Teachers and other civil servants began receiving salaries in US dollars after the formation of the unity government, but all workers receive the same amount, regardless of experience.

Zimbabwe's schools, once the best on the continent, have crumbled over the last decade, with a shortages of books and other supplies while teachers have left the job or moved overseas in search of better pay.

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