A union representing nurses has warned the Government that nurses may be forced to declare a strike if their salaries are not adjusted to cushion them from runaway inflation.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president Enock Dongo told NewsDay on Wednesday that they will soon hold a consultative meeting with members on the way forward. Said Dongo:
Yesterday, (Tuesday) we got the shock of our lives to note that we received an average of $30 000 considering what is happening in the economy, where prices of goods and services are galloping.
These issues should be addressed as a matter of urgency. We are giving a warning to government that we declare incapacitation with immediate effect.
We will take a position on what action to take with the state of incapacitation after a full consultative meeting with our members.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union (ZPNU) president Robert Chiduku on Tuesday notified the Health Service Board (HSB) that their members will not report for duty on Monday next week due to “incapacitation”. Chiduku said:
With reference to the above-mentioned subject, we wish to notify you that our members will not be able to turn up for duty starting on Monday, June 20, 2022, until the following conditions are met.
Chiduku said nurses want their salaries to be paid in United States dollars as the local currency continues to weaken while prices of goods and services continue to rise.
Health Services Board executive director Engelbert Mbengwa told NewsDay that he was “not aware that nurses want to go on strike”.
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) secretary Norman Matara said:
Nurses’ strikes will definitely cause disaster in health institutions. We have been saying over and over again that government needs to take the concerns of its workers seriously.
Until those issues are addressed, we will continue to see such job action.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles as Health and Child Care minister, has in the past fired thousands of nurses for embarking on job action.
The government is currently working on amending the Health Services Act which seeks to curtail health professionals’ right to participate in industrial action.