Harare defies govt directive to fire striking nurses

HARARE City Council [HCC] says it will defy a government directive to punish striking nurses, Zim Morning Post has learnt.

Speaking to Zim Morning Post on Wednesday, Councilor Denford Ngadziore – who is a member of the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee – said they would rather pursue engagement with the nurses than fire them.

“It doesn’t make sense to fire these nurses since they are all raising genuine concerns. So we are going to sit as a committee and map a way forward, but we are not going to fire them,” Ngadziore said.

Ngadziore appealed to the nurses to drop                                                                                                                                                           some of their demands since council was also feeling the pinch of Zimbabwe’s ailing economy.

“We are appealing to our nurses to drop some of their demands; we can meet halfway. We are also being affected by the ailing economy, but we are committed to meet some of their demands. We also ask the government to cushion our nurses as is the case in our hospitals,” Ngadziore said.

Government has urged the HCC to follow its example and dismiss all striking nurses at all its municipal clinics and hospitals,.

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet media briefing that only 35 nurses out of a full staff compliment of 105 across HCC’s clinics and hospitals had reported for duty this week, seven days after declaring incapacitation and downing tools.

“On the HCC nurses, the situation at the municipal clinics remains constrained as only 35 out of the expected 105 turned up for duty at the five polyclinics and one hospital.

“The nurses had withdrawn their labour over delayed salary payments but are still refusing to resume duty even after getting their salaries. The action by the nurses is illegal and the employer has been advised to commence disciplinary action,” Mutsvangwa said.

“As such, only those nurses reporting for duty will be paid while their conditions of service are being looked into,” the minister added.

Mutsvangwa also said the decision by council nurses to declare incapacitation and withdraw labour had worsened an already precarious health crisis in the country, which is characterised by a 76 day-old strike by junior and middle level doctors across the country.

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