Harare slams door on striking nurses

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By Paidashe Mandivengerei

NEGOTIATIONS between Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Nurses Workers’ Union (ZURCNWU) and Harare city fathers, last week hit a brickwall after the capital city’s Town Clerk, Engineer Hosiah Chisango argued the workers body was not properly registered.

Council nurses in Harare’s clinics embarked on a job action two weeks ago citing low salaries due to inflation demanding that they be reviewed upwards.

Like other health workers, the nurses want their remunerations pegged at the prevailing interbank rate and have vowed to press on with their strike until council addresses their concerns.

Speaking to, ZURCNWU president Simbarashe Tafirenyika said his union was now turning to the Ministry of Local Government for assistance.

“We tried to engage the Town Clerk, he refused to talk to us and he referred us to the national employment council of Harare

“He is actually aware that we are not a member of this body because our union is new so we have hit a brickwall,” saidTafirenyika.

“We want our salaries pegged at interbank rate, public transport fares were hiked and now we use over $800 per month on transport alone yet the least paid nurse gets around $600.

“We will now approach the Minister of Local Governance and also engage our lawyers because we thought we would negotiate but this seems impossible.”

National Employment Council (NEC) is the bipartite labour body which represents council workers’ unions in engagements with their employer and ZURCNWU has not joined this.

Chisango confirmed this development and advised the nurses union to join NEC if they want a platform to discuss their grievances with Harare City Council.

“We don’t know them as they are not a registered union. Our unions have a way in which they register through the National Employment Council of the city of Harare and that’s the board in which we negotiate with them but now we have four registered unions and ZURCNWU is not a part of these four.

“They should register then they send their grievances to us as council. They can register with the labour ministry but they still need to come and register with the employment council forum,” said Chisango.

The nurses strike has taken a toll on the already crumbling health sector.