Zimbabwe's teachers want their salary in diamonds

The core teachers’ union of Zimbabwe has demanded the proceeds of diamond sales be spent on their wages, adding there are no valid excuses from the government to justify their low pay and poor working conditions, reports SW Radio Africa.

The President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Takavafira Zhou, told SW Radio on Monday that they are announcing a major strike if the authorities fail to attend to the teachers’ demand.

He added the discovery of rich diamond deposits in Marange, considered the largest finding in generations, should be changing this situation.

Zimbabwe’s new school term opened in May and teachers have been threatening the government ever since.

“Teachers returned to work for the new term very angry and apprehensive, because the government still has not reviewed salaries and conditions of service. Also, violence against teachers has once again been on the rise and there has been no attempt to secure the working environment,” Zhou told SW Radio two months ago.

In a clear move to lobby the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe, Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu officially invited diplomats from the European Union and other Western countries to visit the country’s Marange diamond fields, last month. Until then, only allies of Mugabe were allowed in the area.

The Marange diamond fields are a controversial area of widespread, small-scale diamond production.  It's currently awash with legal wrangles, government crackdowns on illegal miners and allegations of forced labour going right to the core of Robert Mugabe's government.