Bulawayo health staff join poor pay toyi-toyi

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Jeffrey Muvundusi

in BULAWAYO

©️  MORE health workers yesterday went on strike over poor pay and working conditions, the Daily News reports.

This saw doctors and nurses in Bulawayo joining the industrial action that began in Harare on Wednesday — badly affecting services at Mpilo Central, Ingutsheni Central and United Bulawayo Hospitals.

This comes as the government is battling to provide its health workers with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), amid increasing cases of the lethal coronavirus infections in the country.

The strike also came barely 24 hours after the government had awarded all public sector workers and pensioners US dollar allowances.

Yesterday, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina), Enock Dongo, told the Daily News that they had resolved to withdraw their services nationally with immediate effect — due to “our worsening plight”.

“As health workers and the Apex Council representatives, we convened a meeting in Harare to look into the issues of salaries in view of the ongoing demonstrations.

“We also noted what the government has offered as Covid-19 allowance … However, the health workers totally rejected the offer as it is something that cannot take them anywhere,” he said.

“They said they want their salaries to revert back to the same amount they were getting in October 2018, and they want it in US dollars.

“As a result, the position we reached as health workers — that is nurses, doctors at all levels, including junior, senior, consultants, and all who were represented in the meeting — is the withdrawal of services with immediate effect until our grievances have been addressed,” Dongo said further.

He also said they had since submitted a letter to the Health Services Board (HSB), detailing their grievances, and which they hoped would be attended to as a matter of urgency in the interest of the country’s dysfunctional public health sector.

Heath and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo was not picking up calls yesterday.

All this comes as Zimbabwe is grappling with Covid-19, which has so far killed four people and infected more than 400 others.

While doctors and nurses have complained of inadequate PPE, as well as poor pay and allowances, the Daily News reported exclusively in April how fat cats at the HSB were living it up.

Then, the HSB bigwigs controversially awarded themselves hefty additional allowances, at a time that frontline health workers were getting measly salaries and incentives.

The allowances came hard on the heels of deliveries to HSB bosses and other high ranking government officials of top-of-the-range vehicles.

The hefty allowances also came at a time the government had been ordered by the High Court to provide health workers PPE among other essentials, in the fight against Covid-19.

 

 

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