Nurses plead for dialogue

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ZIMBABWE Nurses Association (Zina) has written to the government seeking to have dialogue to solve their differences.

This comes after the High Court on Friday gave temporary relief to nurses after it ruled that for the meantime
health workers can revert to flexi hours due to incapacitation after Zina had gone to court seeking an interdict
against the health ministry’s directive for the removal of their flexible working hours.

In a letter to the ministry of Health permanent-secretary Jasper Chimedza, Zina said dialogue is the only platform
through which differences between nurses and the government could be resolved.

“We would want to echo the words of the judge … ‘dialogue, not penal processes, seems the only way forward…’ As an association, we believe this is the reason why the Bipartite Negotiating Panel is there, and we urge all parties
to try and resolve matters amicably in that forum…

“We have also tried our best to engage you on matters affecting the health sector and unfortunately, we have had no luck so far.

“We reiterate that we look forward to working with you as we strive to improve the problems bedevilling the
health sector,” reads part of the letter.

Efforts to get a comment from Chimedza were unsuccessful yesterday as he was not reachable on his mobile
phone.

In his ruling, High Court judge Justice Martin Mafusire said nurses had raised valid concerns relating to
incapacitation.

“The spirit of negotiation and compromise only seemed broken by the third respondent’s directive on October
19, 2020.

“That directive seemed incongruous to what had prevailed before. The applicant (Zina) cannot be accused of
inaction. It called for dialogue. That seemed quite in line with precedent.

“It was in line with the spirit and letter of the law. Only after a deadlock or an impasse had manifested did the
applicant come to court. Any reasonable person can see that it was time to act,” the judge noted, adding that
after assessing the merits of the case, he was left with no choice but to ‘‘grant the applicants the relief they sought,”
ruled the judge, that the government had complicated matters for nurses.

“Respondents undoubtedly find themselves between a hard place and a rock. They are in an invidious position.
“Having analysed the BNP agreements at length, as I have done above, I come to the conclusion that the applicant’s main case is not without merit.

The application succeeds. An order is hereby granted in terms of the draft,” said the judge.

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