Nurses Breathe Fire, Seeks Audience With ED
6 November 2020

By A Correspondent- Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) yesterday came out guns blazing and requested President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene in its impasse with the government, saying the situation regarding their welfare is now out of hand.

This comes as the Health Services Board (HSB) removed 1 032 defiant nurses from its payroll after they refused to resume normal working hours, preferring flexi-hours.

Speaking during Tuesday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said nurses who were defying a government directive banning flexi-hours would face disciplinary hearing.

Zina president Enock Dongo told the Daily News yesterday that they were not moved by the threats.

“The government cannot threaten its citizens like that. It is surprising that the whole government agrees on removing nurses from the pay sheet and taking them  to disciplinary hearings, this is uncalled for and not necessary.

“Right now morale is low in hospitals, the situation has deteriorated, there is no equipment to use. In 2019, the government agreed that salaries were not enough and nothing has changed. We told them that their so-called salary increment is too little and we will remain incapacitated.

“The permanent secretary doesn’t have the mandate to ban flexi-hours and it’s not a lawful order.

“The only way forward is for the president to intervene because you are going to find nurses at hospitals doing nothing.

“We will soon write a letter to the president. The move taken by the government will not work. Ordinary Zimbabweans will be the losers.”

Earlier, Zina, Confederation of Nurses Association, Theatre Nurses Association and the Nurses Educators Association had met with the Health Services Board and resolved to comply with the government directive but Zina later decided to defy it.

The 1 280 nurses who failed to heed to the call to return to normal working hours face disciplinary action.

“The Health Services Board has started instituting disciplinary hearings for the defiant nurses,” said Mutsvangwa, who was adamant that the government would not reverse the ban on flexi-hours.

“At its 38th  meeting held on 28 October, 2020 Cabinet was informed that Zina openly challenged the Cabinet decision on the cancellation of the flexi-working arrangement and defied the secretary for Health and Child Care’s directive for the association to reverse its statement.

“Cabinet resolved to cancel the flexi-hours arrangement and that nurses who fail to report for duty be subjected to disciplinary processes, that daily attendance registers for nurses be submitted to the Health Services Board and the ministry of Health and Child Care head office; and that nursing services be restructured to be supported by three pillars; namely contract workers; health service permanent workers; and secondment from the uniformed forces,” Mutsvangwa said.-DailyNews