November 12, 2019

‘City taking us for a ride’ – Striking nurses

Pic Source: Sunday Mail
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Leroy Dzenga

The deadlock between City of Harare and some of its nurses continues, amid accusations by the health workers that their employer is negotiating in bad faith.

The city council nurses believe the city authorities are not taking their demands for better working conditions seriously.

Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Nurses Workers Union president Simbarashe Tafirenyika said they are not on strike but   cannot afford to report for duty.

“We declared our incapacitation in July and the employer ignored. In the beginning of November, it got to a point where we could not report for work,” Tafirenyika said.

Nurse Payslip

He said they have engaged the City’s Health Director Dr Prosper Chonzi on the issue and they are lining another meeting with the Town Clerk.

“We have been trying to speak to the city leadership but they appear not ready to sit down with us. The progress we had made with Dr Chonzi is now under threat,” Tafirenyika said.

City Health Director Dr Prosper Chonzi told ZTN that council wants to see an immediate end to the strike.

“At this point, we have only 30 percent of our clinic staff (reporting for work) and that puts us in a difficult position. Our maternity wards are not functioning at full capacity and we do not have night consultations currently because of the strike. The nurses are engaging with the human resources department and city leadership, I hope there is a resolution soon,” he said.

The few workers who have been reporting for duty are those not affiliated to the Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Nurses Workers Union.

They believe the strike is illegal.

Harare Municipality Workers’ Union (HMWU) chairman Cosmas Bungu said;

“We sympathise with the striking nurses but there are processes which we follow as we legally engage with our employer. We believe this new so-called Rural and Urban Nurses` Union is not following procedure, so we are not part of them,” Bungu said.

During the US dollar era, the nurses used to be among the best paid health professionals in the country, eclipsing those at private institutions and in Government. On average their salaries were pegged at US$1200 from 2009 to 2016.

However, after Zimbabwe reverted to the Zimbabwe dollar which is currently trading at around 1:15 on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s interbank rate, they have not had any adjustment.

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