THE strike for better salaries and working conditions by nurses continued yesterday as labour unions and human rights groups expressed anger over the arrest of some of their colleagues on Monday.
In Bulawayo, around 50 nurses from three referral facilities, Mpilo, Ingutsheni, and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), picketed at UBH demanding, among other things, the release of their colleagues who were arrested on Monday in Harare, as well as payment of their salaries in United States dollars.
They also demanded that their colleagues be reinstated in hospital accommodation at Parirenyatwa from where they had been evicted.
This comes after 13 nurses who were arrested on Monday for protesting at Harare Central Hospital appeared at Mbare Magistrates’ Courts.
Of the 13, two paid admission of guilt fines while 11, Ndadyei Gudza, Raikai Chibharo, Moses Sigauke, Michelle Magonye, Kumbirai Maiswa, Trish Chireka, Nyasha Kapesi, Evermay Chikoka, Lucas Sharara, Samson Gurupira and Laiza Magwizi were granted $1 000 bail each for contravening Covid-19 lockdown measures.
Sigauke is also being accused of inciting violence after he allegedly shared a video on social media calling other nurses to gather at Mbare Police Station.
It is alleged that after being arrested together with the other nurses and being detained at Mbare Police Station, Sigauke allegedly shot a video and shared it on Facebook calling on other nurses to come and join them and demonstrate at the police station.
The State alleged his message had the effect to incite other nurses to gather at the police station and demonstrate, causing violence.
Yesterday, the Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association came out guns blazing, alleging the government was not seriously looking at the plight of the health workers.
“The ill-treatment and heavy-handed approach of arresting and repressing nurses exercising the only option left to all at a time the employer is ignoring the plight of all civil servants in the face of inflation is deplorable.
“Doctors condemn this action meted on our colleagues,” ZSHDA said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU said instead of fighting poverty, the government is busy fighting workers.
“The arrest of striking nurses shows that ours is a pariah state.
“Instead of shutting out genuine voices demanding fair labour conditions, the government must shut out poverty.
“All workers must prepare for massive peaceful protests; we have no time, announcement coming soon,” ZCTU said.