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Bulawayo nurses stage another joint demonstration

by Staff reporter
14 Jul 2020 at 08:43hrs | Views
NURSES from the United Bulawayo Hospitals, Ingutsheni Mental Health Hospital and Mpilo Central Hospital staged a joint demonstration yesterday over government's reluctance to pay their salaries in United States dollars and the arrest of their Harare colleagues.

They also questioned the rationale behind firing hospitals chief executive officers (CEOs) while leaving other top officials.

The Health Ministry last week fired public institutions' CEOs as part of a restructuring exercise.

Last Monday, police in Harare arrested 13 nurses at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital after they protested over poor remuneration.

Two were released after paying fines while the rest spent the night in cells and were charged with contravening COVID-19 lockdown regulations and released on $1
000 bail each by a Mbare magistrate.

The disgruntled Bulawayo health workers were toyi-toying holding placards inscribed "Release our nurses", "Being incapacitated is not a crime", "Why firing CEOs only, cascade it down to directors and Principal Nursing Officers" and "No US$ no work".

Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) Bulawayo provincial organising secretary Thelma Muchena said nurses could not afford to report for work.

"We are gathered here as nurses in Bulawayo, not that we do not want our jobs, but we are saying, no, we cannot afford to come to work anymore. We are expected to work and feed our parents as they look to us, but we can no longer take care of them anymore," she said.

"Bring back value to the nurse's salary and our profession. We cannot go to work on empty stomachs as a hungry nurse is a dangerous nurse, especially to the patients."
Muchena said nurses would not report for work until United States dollars reflect in their accounts.

"If there is no US$ in our accounts, there is no work, the government has reduced us to beggars. When we cry out, we are arrested and victimised like our colleagues were arrested in Harare," she said.

One of the nurses, who requested anonymity, said government was mistreating the frontline healthcare workers and also underpaying them.

"We want a situation where we are given what is rightfully ours. We are very much aggrieved by the situation of our colleagues in court. We are calling for their release and dismissal of their court cases," the nurse said.

"In this COVID-19 scenario, we are the frontliners dealing with the sick patients, yet we are offered $1 500, $900 and the leastpaid gets $600. What are we saying about this country honestly?"

Source - newsday