STRIKING nurses received their salaries in July and August despite the Health Services Board’s (HSB) no-work-no-pay principle.
Enock Dongo, president of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association, confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that they received double their normal salary this month to offset the previous month.
“The majority of nurses who did not receive salaries in July received them this month. It is a welcome development, but we still think it is wrong to remove striking nurses from the payroll.
“We want our concerns to be addressed and we don’t have to be vengeful. We hope that somewhere someone will see sense and do the right thing because our concerns are legitimate,”; said Dongo.
In June, the nurses went on strike, demanding US dollar salaries and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Dongo reiterated that the nurses would not return to work until the government complied with their demands.
“We remain very concerned about the malfunctioning health sector and the people who may die needlessly in their homes. The government has a duty to protect people’s lives and provide health services to citizens,” he added.
Two weeks ago, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said negotiations on an annual adjustment of the cost of living between the government and its employees under the National Joint Negotiating Council had started.
“We have started negotiations on annual adjustments to the normal cost of living. This process will take us through to around September or October and further adjustments will be made to that effect.”
“There will be special programs that recognize their work and the risks they are taking.
“There will be a special health care allowance, and then there will be a special Covid-19 allowance, then there will be a wage balance of $ 75. So there are a number of additional benefits and those benefits are tax-free,” said Ncube.
The return of striking nurses to the government’s payroll comes after a call by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is now in charge of the health and childcare portfolio, to end their industrial action and give the government time to deal with complaints.
Chiwenga approached farmers at the start of the President’s Green Submissions Program at Nyabvuti Farm in Guruve on Friday and asked for their patience.
“We are working hard to improve our health systems in communities, villages, districts and provinces, including referral facilities. We are strengthening our systems so that people can easily access medicines.
“Our health workers are on strike. We encourage them to return to work and save lives. While we are aware of their ailments, they should also think about saving lives.
“We are not blind to your problems. We work hard to help you, but you should also consider patient lives.
“While we are addressing your complaints, we cannot expect a solution overnight.
“These challenges have accumulated over a long period of time and will take time to address,” he said.