Harare - Striking Zimbabwean nurses, that were fired by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga have on Tuesday, refused to buckle to government’s claims that they had been dismissed.
The Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (Zina), in a statement to its 15 000 members, maintained that their dismissals were an allegation, as their employer, the Health Services Board, still had subsisting contracts with them.
“The position, as already submitted to government on behalf of Zina’s suffering members, remains the same. As a result, we advise all nurses that nothing has changed thus far with regards to the industrial action which is ongoing,” Zina said.
“Our grievances which relate to poor and dangerous working conditions, which threaten our health and affects the discharge of our duties, remain unaddressed,” they said.
“The $17 144 446 referred to by the Vice-President in his press statement as having been transferred to the ministry of health relates to arrear allowances dating back to 2010. It is in no way related to our current demands that triggered the collective job action.”
Nurses went on strike on Monday, claiming they wanted improved working conditions, salaries and allowances.
Chiwenga accused the health professionals of negotiating in bad faith, saying their strike was politically-motivated. On Monday, Chiwenga fired the nurses.
The Apex Council, the civil servants’ umbrella body, on Tuesday said government’s move was “irrational and unconstitutional”.
Apex Council boss Cecilia Alexander said the strike was a result of “government’s piecemeal and divisive approach in addressing condition of service in the civil service”.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights as well as the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights, in a joint statement, condemned government’s move as “dangerous, irresponsible and illogical”, and accused the government of being reluctant in responding to “legitimate concerns” raised by health practitioner over the years.
African News Agency/ANA