Striking nurses blast arrests on colleagues, vow to persist with job action

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By Thandiwe Garusa

THE Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) has condemned the arrest of their colleagues who had planned to stage a demonstration against poor wages at a Harare hospital.

Some 12 nurses were arrested by the police in a pre-emptive move to stop the protest.

Other brave nurses who were not part of the arrested lot however continued with the demonstration.

In a statement Monday, ZINA said nurses were determined to continue with the industrial action until their salaries were paid in United States dollars.

The group also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of its members.

“The attempt to strangle our genuine voices through force is nothing new,” ZINA said.

“However, and as we have always stated, we have lost our earnings already through slave wages and so we have nothing more to lose.

“For this reason, we call upon all nurses to remain resolute and continue the struggle and to those who have been going to work all along, for how long will you continue to ignore the collective efforts of the nurses profession?

“We urge you to stop derailing the efforts of many and to immediately withdraw your labour in solidarity with the need to protect nurses’ interest.

“In particular, we demand the immediate release of all our colleagues who are being victimised by being arrested en masse and payment of our salaries in United States dollars as they were on the 1st of October 2018.”

Nurses have also demanded the provision of Covid-19 allowances and salary increments which were promised by the government.

“If ever we were in doubt about the nature of government’s response to our genuine plight, this is the clearest evidence we could have got.

“Firstly, government promised upward salary reviews and Covid-19 allowances which have not been paid.

“Secondly, government proceeded to refuse to discuss improving the reviews and instead rendered the Bipartite Negotiating Panel useless…we are now being victimised for utilising the only option available to us by being arrested.

“We have a right to peacefully show our displeasure with our employer. No USD no work.”