DRAMA AS CHITUNGWIZA NURSES THREATEN STRIKE
CHITUNGWIZA Municipality nurses yesterday threatened to down their tools if their employer fails to attend to their grievances and demands in seven days.
In a two paged letter addressed to the Acting Town Clerk Charity Maunga, the nurses said they did not know the last day they had received their full salaries as they don’t even get pay slips.
“Hoping you will respond positively to our long standing legal battle to unlawfully breach our contracts. Failure to correct the issue within seven working days, will by no means force all health staff to invoke conflict of rights by taking an industrial action,” read part of the letter gleaned by H-Metro.
The nurses who besieged the Municipality offices on Monday morning caught their bosses flat footed as they sought to be addressed by the Acting Town Clerk.
They argued in their letter that previous Council meetings had resolved to agree to reinstate health care workers allowances with effect from January 2012.
“Reference is also made to Works Council meeting minutes dated 18 March 2012 ‘variation of health personnel allowances’ management committed to make a written undertaking on Monday 20 May 2012 to apologise and make payment plan of which nothing to that effect was done.
“On the 30th of August 2012, Works Council resolution resolved that the unilateral scrapping of allowances be reinstated on August ‘12 payroll and payment of arrears be made through a payment plan but nothing was done,” the letter added.
Nurses interviewed by this paper said they have lost count of the last time they got their full salaries and what is worrying is the fact that they are being given a flat US$260 like any other council employee despite their nature of job which is completely different to others.
“It is very painful that we don’t know the last time we last got paid. We are being paid US$260 just like meter readers and it is unfair. They scrapped our allowances and there is a court order asking them to reinstate our allowances but they are just arrogant.
“Our salaries were reduced from a gross salary of US$2 216, then US$1 110. It was further slashed to US$536 before we were put on the current US$266.
“We work under heavy pressure and the workload is unbearable but with all due respect to our fellow workers we think we are being hard done,” said some nurses who preferred anonymity.
A survey by this publication around all the council four clinics revealed that patients were just seated waiting to be attended to but there were no nursing staff. Only a few student nurses were manning the clinics.
Moses Shambare who had accompanied his wife to book her pregnancy left Zengeza clinic after waiting in vain to get served.
“I came here around 7 am in the morning but there was no one to help us. We were later told that the nurses were not coming so we are going home and will come if they are back maybe next week,” said Shambare as he left for his home.
Some patients who wanted to collect their antiretroviral medication were left to vacate the clinics without the life-preserving medication and many were furious.
Efforts to get a comment from the Director of Health were fruitless as he was said to be out of office whilst the Town Clerk was said to be in a meeting with councillors who were rumoured to have started their duties on Monday.