Nurses threaten a two day working week

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

NURSES at all State health institutions have threatened to begin reporting for duty only twice a week arguing they cannot afford transport fares anymore.

The decision comes after the Health Services Board (HSB) allegedly failed to address nurses’ grievances around remuneration, according to union leaders.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) secretary general Enoch Dongo told in an interview Monday that if their grievances were not addressed by end of June, the decision will kick in.

“We had our executive meeting and resolved to go to work two days per week.

“The money that we are getting paid is now almost next to nothing, as cost of living goes up daily,” said Dongo.

Most civil servants including teachers have been demanding to be paid in foreign currency but government has indicated it cannot afford it.

Dongo said while ZINA members would want to keep reporting for duty daily, their salaries have made it impossible to do so.

“In as much as we want to come to work, our members do not have enough bus fare to cover for the whole week let alone the whole month.

“While there was an attempt to address minor grievances, the most important grievances relating to remuneration of health workers vis-a-vis the current economic climate has not been addressed,” said Dongo.

“Should the remaining grievances remain unresolved by close of day June 23, all health workers will completely withdraw their labour from June 24.”

According to Dongo, the lowest paid nurse reportedly earns a gross monthly salary of RTGS$284 before allowances. ZINA claims government had promised to review they salaries and allowances in 2010 but never honoured its pledge.

Two weeks ago, ZINA gave government a 14-day ultimatum to HSB to address their salaries and allowances grading but the threat has gone unheeded.

Last year when over 15 000 nurses embarked on an industrial action demanding better salaries and working conditions, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who was Acting President at the time, announced they had all been fired. The decision was reversed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.