GOVERNMENT says the recent sacking and readmission of striking nurses has not affected their benefits and other conditions of service amid reports of rampant victimisation of junior members of the clinical staff by their bosses.
Some 6,000 nursing staff were summarily sacked for ignoring government pleas to return to work following their recent strike over poor wages and conditions of service.
Government immediately ordered their replacement while those who were still interested were asked to reapply but this was abruptly stopped when nurses quickly resumed work to save their jobs.
However, most formal job dismissals often affect one’s benefits, an action which Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa said will not be targeted at nurses.
He was speaking while responding to questions by Senators on Thursday.
“I would want to clarify that when nurses were dismissed, those who were dismissed were then also requested if they want to come back to work and we immediately asked them to resume duty.
“What that meant was that their conditions of service had not been disturbed. In other words, there was that continuum because they resumed duty. We did not penalise them so to speak. What just happened is, we said sign your form to resume duty and they resumed duty,” he said.
It has emerged that the dismissals have opened an avenue among vindictive hospital bosses to settle scores with their junior staff with reports that names of some of those who did not join the strike were included in the list of nurses whose employment was terminated.
Parirenyatwa confirmed the reports, adding that officials from his ministry have since been assigned to investigate the misdemeanors.
“We are aware that there are a lot of accusations and counter accusations,” Parirenyatwa said.
“That is why my teams are on the ground to find out from the Provincial Medical Directors, the Provincial Nursing Officers and the Senior Tutors in hospitals what really happened and this investigation is taking place.
“We know there are accusations and counter accusations. Some are actually saying ‘you came to work and they are saying we did not come’. There are all these counter accusations and we need to put that into perspective. In the meantime, service delivery is continuing and we are pleased with that.”