Senior nurses give strike notice

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HARARE – Nurse managers have given the Health Services Board (HSB) notice of a possible strike, they said at a meeting yesterday.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association said a strike could begin as early as September 8.

Zina secretary-general Enoch Dongo told the Daily News that the nurses’ grievances were not new to the board as they had been aired before.

“We told the board that senior nursing staff cannot earn less than juniors. Some junior nurses after taking the night shift earn $637 while their seniors earn $600.

“What they have to consider is that if the nurse manager earns that little, what about the sister-in-charge who is below?”

“This prompted us to resolve that in the next 14 days, the board should iron out these discrepancies or risk a nationwide strike.

“However, as the managers who also include teaching staff go on strike, it is likely that the juniors will also join because they will have no one to lecture them,” he said.

Dongo said it was better for the nurses not to work than be humiliated by such poor monthly packages.

He added that the nurses also proposed to be returned to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) as they felt their allowances had been removed. The nurses are now under the HSB.

The secretary-general said from the time they left the CSC, nurses’ allowances tumbled to deplorable levels.

“The nurses felt that it was better for all civil service employees to be under one employer, than to segregate them. Before the shift, a provincial nursing officer and a provincial education director would be the same.

“However, now there are differences in grading. We are not comparing but the policy that a teacher and nurse are the same is not happening,” Dongo said.

He said that nurses also said they wanted the Health Services Act to be amended to allow nurses to also be district medical officers.

“Inexperienced doctors are being promoted to high positions while some nurses who are even holders of doctorate degrees are being left out simply because they are not medical doctors.

“Nurses constitute 70 percent of the health profession and they should be given the same opportunities,” he said.

HSB executive director Ruth Kaseke said they will be holding a meeting in September to look into the issues raised by the nurses.

“We have heard their grievances and shall take them to the board to consider and find out how best we can solve the problems,” she said.