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Government Blasted for Heavy Handedness on Striking Nurses

Movement for Democratic Change has blasted the ZANU PF government for being insensitive to the plight of striking nurses who were on Tuesday dismissed for striking against low salaries, saying their heavy handedness is causing unnecessary alarm in the country.

Henry Madzorera, MDC-T shadow Minister of Health and Child Welfare said that firing of nurses by government is a bad move which can cause alarm.

“It is extremely sad to note that our current government does not see anything wrong with the current conditions of service of the nurses in the public health sector, preferring instead to believe that their grievances and their latest industrial action are politically motivated. The heavy handedness of the government in the current strike is further cause for alarm,” said Madzorera.

He added, “The nation has witnessed unprecedented suffering of the sick and their loved ones since  March 1, when the doctors’ strike started. Hundreds of our sick friends and relatives have died unnecessarily of potentially curable illnesses.”

On Tuesday evening, vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga announced that government had dismissed all striking nurses replacing them with those on retirement and unemployment graduates.

Madzorera said the government is heartless as it did not consider the plight of thousands of people who are being denied their right to healthcare adding that it is within the rights of nurses to push for improved working conditions.

“Thousands of people have been denied the most basic of health care, All this does not seem to have moved the hearts of those running the country. Now the government has purportedly fired the nurses who are simply calling for intensified dialogue with their employer, concerning their deplorable conditions of service.

“The loser in this equation are the poor people of Zimbabwe, the villagers, the unemployed, the homeless, the overcrowded, and those with no proper water supply and sanitation facilities. In other words, the people the government is supposed to watch over jealously,” said Madzorera.

He however urged the government  to re-engage the nurses on industrial action with a view to minimizing the disruption of the health delivery services.

Madzorera called on the government to allocate more resources towards health adding that they have no reason not to adhere to the 15% as agreed at continental level.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights (ZDHR) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) noted that the summary dismissal of the nurses is in contravention of constitutionally guaranteed rights particularly section 65 of the Constitution, which guarantees express labour rights to every person except for members of the security services.

“ZADHR and ZLHR would like to draw the government’s attention to section 65(3)&(4) of the Constitution which states that “every employee has the right to participate in collective job action, including the right to strike, sit in, withdraw their labour and to take other similar concerted action” and “every employee is entitled to just, equitable and satisfactory conditions of work,” said ZLHR.

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