The Zimbabwean government is heading towards a showdown with teachers as it increases its oppressive moves against them. teachers were attacked by riot police as they protested the non-payment of bonuses and the unexpected docking of pension contributions. Now the government is implementing a vicious performance related pay policy.

Teachers taking classes where less than 50% of their students pass certain tests will be docked three months salaries in one year. Moreover thousands of relief teachers have been sacked with 24 hours notice. Draconian inspection teams are also coming into schools and teachers are even being punished for not being dressed smartly enough according to reports. 

As if this wasn't enough, the government has also unilaterally increased the pupil teacher ratio - from one to 35 to one to 40 for primary classes and similar increases across other phases. 

Teachers' salaries in Zimbabwe have historically been well below the poverty line. Heads described teachers in tears when they received their pay cheques with the new deductions. 

The two main teaching unions, PTUZ and ZIMTA are both considering strike action in response to these latest attacks, since, as one ZIMTA leader said, it was the only way they get a hearing. The President of PTUZ  this:

'It is like we do not exist at all. This is a clear fight. Our members are now looking at us to get a clear way forward because every teacher is frustrated, first nothing is being said about our bonuses and then all these other mind boggling policies. When you look at it, it is like someone is sitting at a certain office tasked with frustrating teachers. As it stands I will not rule out a strike, the only question right now is when?' 

Zimbabwe is no different to governments all over the world in expecting teachers to work on poverty pay, under worsening and often impossible conditions and then adding insult to injury by piling accountability measures on them, which impoverish them still further.