Health workers, that include nurses, who have been on strike for the past three weeks were not paid allowances given to all civil servants amid allegations government is trying to arm-twist them to return to work.
By Brenna Matendere/nhau mangirazi
The workers are demanding salaries in United States dollars citing soaring inflation and the collapse of the re-introduced Zimbabwe dollar.
Government last month awarded a 50% increment in allowances for all its workers and offered to pay them US$75 for the next three months.
The civil servants got an average of $1 200 last week while members of the security forces were paid between $5 000 and $7 000, much to the chagrin of the striking nurses who say they were excluded.
Enock Dongo, the Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association president, yesterday claimed the government had not paid the striking nurses.
“Whilst our employer does not want to address the situation directly, we have seen that it has resorted to underhand tactics meant to force the nurses to go to work,” Dongo said.
“To be specific, we have received confirmation that many nurses have been removed from the payroll and did not receive even the pitiful increments of $1 200…
“This tactic is clearly meant to threaten nurses, through victimisation, to subsidise the employer and return back to work to protect even the little they are getting.
“As we have said before, any efforts to break our spirits actually strengthen us even more.”
He claimed Health Services Board members received allowances of $60 000 each, but this could not be independently verified.
“What is even sad is that our employer decided to pay directors at head office, provincial medical directors, clinical directors and managers at the Health Services Board payments of upward of $60 000 each this week whilst nurses got $1 200,” Dongo added.
“Clearly, therefore, despite the fact that we are the ones in the firing line of the current Covid-19 fight, our employer does not think very highly of us.
He vowed that nurses would not go back to work until the government met their demands.