Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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Government Not Reachable- Health Workers

Striking health workers claim that Government is yet to respond to their demands for a better wage and vowed to continue with the industrial action.

Speaking to 263Chat on Friday, Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Enock Dongo said the situation in hospitals remains dire and their employer was not forthcoming.

“There are no positives from the authorities, we have not had any engagement with our employer they are still silent about our demands which we gave them last Thursday. The situation remains dire in the hospitals it seems they are not forthcoming to engage with us.

“We do not know what the problem is since we gave them our problems. We thought they would come to the negotiating table but up to now nothing has materialized. As it stands health workers are silent in their homes waiting to hear from the employer,” said Dongo

He dismissed allegations that they are pushing a political agenda saying it has always been like that whenever they engage on strike.

“It has always been like that in a country like Zimbabwe but fortunately it’s not like that. We are not even aligned to any political party in the country, we are health workers who are purely civil servants and we want to serve people regardless of their political affiliation. We do not want anything rather than a living wage that can take us through the whole month and also feeding our families,” he said

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Dongo added “We are workers with genuine concerns for example we received pathetic salaries this month with the majority of the workers that is nurses receiving between RTGS$ 3000 and $3500 and that money cannot even pay rent let alone buy food. Looking at the price of mealie meal and cooking oil in shops then take a look at how the health worker survives with the money they received. They also have families they need transport and food at work these are purely labour issues which have nothing to do with politics.”

He said health workers had rejected the recent salary increment and US dollar non-taxable allowance saying they only heard it from social media platforms and no official confirmation was conveyed to them.

“Hearing it on social media platforms our members are not accepting it and also we are concerned about this US$75. We were not officially told as workers so to us it is still a social media thing. It is not a workers issue up to now no one has received it and no one knows how the money is going to come whether its hard cash or plastic money.

“We just hear it is going to be plastic money and it remains a gossip to the workers. No one has approached us from Government to give us a concrete position with regards to the US dollars. We can simply say we have not received anything from the Government,” Dongo said.

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Health workers embarked on an indefinite strike despite government announcing a salary adjustment and a United States dollar pegged Covid-19 allowance for the Civil Service and pensioners.

The National Joint Negotiating Committee (NJNC) has since written to Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander and her deputy Thomas Muzondo advising them of a meeting set for today.

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