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Nurses pile pressure on Mnangagwa


Strike: Govt engages health workers



THE Health Service Commission is currently engaged in negotiations with health sector workers after they threatened to down tools on 28 February 2024 over poor remuneration, The NewsHawks has learnt.


The Health Apex team leader, James Sibanda, told The NewsHawks in an interview that they have put the job action on hold because the employer came on board to listen to their grievances.

“Negotiations are ongoing. On the 29th we negotiated and later this week or next week they will call us for further negotiations,” Sibanda said.

“We have suspended the job action because the employer has come to the negotiating tabl Continuing with the job action while negotiating would be deemed as government negotiating under duress.”

 On 26 February 2024, the Health Apex Council wrote to the employer complaining that salaries have been eroded by chronic high inflation, making it difficult for professionals to sustain themselves.

The health workers issued the employer a 48-hour notice that a strike would begin on 29 February to 2 March 2024. Sibanda added that the health workers just want their grievances addressed, saying failure to address the issues would put innocent patients at risk.

“The one who suffers in all this is the patient. Those with resources can make their own means, but for the low-income earners it’s a different story. We are there to serve and we do not want people to die. If people are going to die, let it be God’s will, not the absence of healthcare,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s healthcare sector is in a volatile state, with basic sundries like gloves and medication lacking at most medical facilities across the country.

Meanwhile, the Health Service Amendment Bill that was debated in the 9th Parliament but was not assented to by the President, seeks to criminalise industrial action in the healthcare sector.

Section 16A(2) reads: “Notwithstanding anything in the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01] — the Health Service shall be deemed as an essential service referred to in section 65(3) of the Constitution; and no collective job action whether lawful or unlawful shall continue for an uninterrupted period of 72 hours or for more than 72 hours in any given 14-day period; and notice of any collective job action must be given in writing 48 hours prior to the commencement of such collective job action,” reads the bill.

Section 16A (3) adds that: “Any individual who is a member of the governing body of any trade union or representative body of members of the Health Service which incites or organises any job collective action contrary to subsection 2(b) or (c) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 10 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”

 The draconian provisions were heavily contested, with labour rights activists saying they are meant to victimise long-suffering workers.

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