Nurses to report for duty once a week

Published: 17 October 2019
NURSES, who recently declared incapacitation, have resolved to report for duty once a week, a situation that will worsen further service delivery at public hospitals that were also deserted by doctors 47 days ago.

Until recently, the nurses have been going to work two or three times a week, but Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union (ZPNU) secretary-general Douglas Chikobvu told the Daily News that they were no longer in a position to do so due to depreciating salaries.

"We as nurses are going to implement the one day per week initiative since government has failed to address our plight to levels where we can feel capacitated. Nurses have sat down and agreed to work one day per week so that we stop subsidising our employer," said Chikobvu.

"We have no other way going forward due to incapacitation. It is within this context that if this trend continues, we might even fail to go for work completely."

Recently, the government awarded all health workers a 60 percent allowance increment which they were supposed to receive before the end of this month.

Health practitioners, who want their salaries to be pegged to the prevailing interbank market rate, have however, rejected the allowance, which they said had already been eroded by inflation before being factored into their salaries against the backdrop of skyrocketing prices of goods and services.

Bread has gone up from around $9 to $15, while bus fares are now ranging between $4 and $12 depending on the destination.
This has seen most workers, including nurses, failing to meet their needs as salaries were no longer enough to take care of themselves and their families.

Another organisation representing nurses, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina), said negotiations with the government would not yield satisfactory results as long as the salaries were not pegged to the prevailing interbank market rate.

"We are always having engagements with the government, but there is no hope if we are offered anything below the interbank market rate. Anything below that does not capacitate us," said Zina president Enock Dongo.

The decision by nurses to report for duty once a week is a big blow for the government, which has so far failed to arm twist doctors into returning to deserted hospitals. Although their strike was declared unlawful by the labour court, doctors have refused to go back to work as they also want salaries equivalent to their previous US dollar salaries.

To complicate matters for the government, the Apex Council, which groups 14 public sector unions, has declared that its 230 000 members were incapacitated.

The civil servants want a minimum monthly salary of US$475 for the least paid worker or the equivalent in local currency at the prevailing interbank rate.
- dailynews
Tags: Nurses,


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