Zimbabwe fires 16,000 nurses for salary raise demand

Nurses are demanding hike in salaries, allowances, some of which have been outstanding for years
HARARE, Zimbabwe: The Zimbabwean government last night fired 16,000 nurses, who went on a strike to demand their outstanding allowances.
In a statement released to the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), the country’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga vowed to replace the striking nurses with scores of other jobless trained nurses.
Chiwenga dismissed the striking nurses in his capacity as the superintendent of the government’s social services cluster.
Chiwenga claimed that the country’s Health Service Board (HSB) had acceded to the nurses’ demands after it had released $17,114,446 to the Health Ministry to pay their outstanding allowances.
“What makes the whole action deplorable and reprehensible is the fact that as agreed yesterday (Monday), the government today released and transferred $17,114,446 into the account of the Ministry of Health and Child Care for payment to the striking nurses.
“While this demonstrates good faith on the part of government, the prompt transfers which have been effected against demonstrable economic challenges facing the country, has not quite surprisingly persuaded the striking nurses to go back to their stations in the interest of saving lives and helping helpless patients under their care.
“The government now regards this lack of remorse as politically motivated and thus as going beyond concerns of conditions of service and worker welfare.”
Chiwenga said the government has instructed the Health Services Board to mobilize unemployed trained nurses so that they replace their dismissed colleagues.
According to Chiwenga, even the country’s retired nursing staff would be redeployed to fill in the gaps left by the striking nurses.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association secretary general Enock Dongo feigned ignorance about the government’s move to fire nurses from their jobs.
“We learnt it on ZBC that we have been fired as we have not been formally told about our dismissals by the government. Therefore, as far as we are concerned, this is null and void,” Dongo told Anadolu Agency.
Receiving salaries currently pegged at $284 per month, the nurses are demanding a hike of their earnings, which includes medical allowances and related issues, some of which have been outstanding over the years.
The government owes some nurses more than $1,000 in outstanding allowances.
Last month, Zimbabwe’s medical doctors ended a month-long strike in which they demanded increased wages and allowances, subsequently crippling operations across the country’s hospitals, but their strike ended after the government intervened offering them perks.–AA

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