Mnangagwa feels the heat

 Mnangagwa feels the heat
Published: 25 May 2019 (298 Views)
NURSES in public hospitals are threatening to down tools over poor salaries, heaping more worries on President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration which has been hopping from one crisis to the other. The Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) revealed to its members on Thursday that it has given its employer a 14-day notice to deal with its concerns, failure of which they will go on strike.

In a statement to members, Zina said negotiations between the association and government - through the Health Services Board (HSB)  - have failed to yield positive results.  "Having failed to find a common position with the employer, a deadlock has been declared," said Zina.

"We are therefore issuing a notice of intent to embark on an industrial action in the next 14 days if our grievances are not addressed".
Founded in 1980, Zina represents the interests of all the nurses in the country. It draws its membership from all health institutions in Zimbabwe - both public and private.

All qualified nurses who join receive a full membership status and all student nurses and nurse aides who join receive associate membership status.  Zina is demanding a salary increase consistent with the huge jump seen in the cost living adjustment, flexible working hours, a vehicle loan scheme and improved working conditions.

The nurses are not the only group of civil servants pushing for better pay cheque. Last Friday, teachers in rural government schools also gave notice to go on industrial action. In a letter to the director of the Public Service Commission (PSC) last Friday, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) said the educators now want to be paid in United States dollars (USDs) and not the local RTGS dollar, whose value is being eroded daily on both the official and non-official foreign currency markets.

Before Artuz's strike notice, the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe had written to Mnangagwa, saying they were having problems with the office of the secretary for the PSC, which it says has been frustrating salary engagement efforts.

Earlier, doctors in public hospitals had warned of growing dissent among their members, who are failing to make ends meet owing to rising cost of living, which has left many in abject poverty. In a letter dated May 10, 2019, addressed to the chairperson of the HSB, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said it wants its members to be paid in USDs.

"We write on behalf of doctors who are currently serving in government hospitals in Zimbabwe. The letter serves to alert you of the growing dissent and discontent from doctors regarding conditions of service in the hospitals," wrote ZHDA secretary-general Mthabisi Bhebhe.

"The latest developments have seen the inflation rate rise to record levels and salaries are being devalued. In the core of this economic decline, it is now impossible for government doctors to address their day-to-day basic financial obligations.

"Imperatively, since the last meaningful salary review in March 2018, transport costs, rentals, medical aid subscriptions and prices of basic household commodities have sharply increased. The parallel market rate of the USD remains a single of pricing of basic commodities," Bhebhe said.

He said in the contracts that the doctors signed, salaries and allowances were pegged in USD, adding that they should as such be paid in hard currency. "This will address the main cause of growing frustration and low motivation among doctors as a result of poor salaries," the doctors said.

Bhebhe further said the doctors are working in a health hazardous environment, where they are forced to treat patients without the requisite equipment.

- dailynews

Tags: mnangagwa,
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