Nurses threaten strike, demand US$ salaries as Govt faces pressure over cost of living

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By Staff Reporter

HARARE: Nurses have threatened to down tools effective next Monday, citing incapacitation following the devaluation of their earnings in the local currency.

The development comes at a time the government is facing mounting pressure from civil service over rising cost of living as wages remain stagnant while basic commodity prices spiral.

In a letter to the Health Services Board, the Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union (ZPNU) executive called on the authorities to restore their USD salaries.

“We wish to notify you that our members will not be able to turn up for duty starting on Monday, the 20th of June 2022,” nurses said in a letter signed by ZPNU Secretary General, Douglas Chikobvu and president Robert Chiduku.

Nurses said they would only return for work once their demands have been met.

“This is due to the loss of value of the Zim dollar and the exorbitant prices in the market.”

In addition, nurses are also calling for the reopening of the negotiation forum.

“The Health Services Board has not met employees, citing endless consultative processes,” the unionists said.

The strike action threat comes at a time the country’s health sector is already seeing an exodus of nurses for countries such as the United Kingdom.


Some 1,800 nurses – more than 10 percent of the country’s public hospital workforce – reportedly emigrated in 2021, mostly to Britain where salaries are more than ten times the US$200 paid by the Zimbabwe government.

Jason Mutambara, a 45-year-old Zimbabwean father of four, migrated to Britain last year.

In a recent interview with a news agency, he said he had no regrets — his monthly income rocketed to £2,700 ($3,375), enabling him to easily afford his children’s school fees.

“It was like you’ve just won a lottery,” he said. “You can’t even think of coming back at the moment.”

Mutambara’s hope is that the Zimbabwean authorities fix the health system to stop the haemorrhage of skills.

“We were trained in Zimbabwe and we owe it to the people of Zimbabwe to continue working for them,” he said. But for now, it appears Britain will be hiring for years to come.