Following in their doctors’ footsteps, thousand of nurses on the government’s payroll have gone on strike demanding bonuses and improved working conditions.
The secretary-General of Zimbabwe Nurses Association, Enoch Dongo said that the Zimbabwean nurses’ strike will continue until the government responds to them firmly on their requests.
Civil workers are yet to receive their bonuses. In January, the government offered three non-cash alternatives as bonuses to the detriment of the civil workers who blatantly rejected it.
The government had offered the civil servants lands or 50% in cash and 50% in non-cash compensation.
According to members of the Workers’ Union who were present at the meeting, the government stated it could not afford to pay bonuses due to cash shortages.
The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general, Raymond Majongwe was adamant at the government’s insistence that there is no money when holders of political offices were clearly living in luxury compared to the average Zimbabwean.
“This is madness, we will not accept that. While we might try to understand that things are hard, but if you look at government ministers and its [government] expenditure, you will see opulence, while we suffer. We should not deviate from tradition,” he said.
The Zimbabwean nurses strike also demand their bonuses paid in cash and not in non-monetary forms. Not only that but they are seeking managerial positions in the healthcare system as well as an upward review of the nursing establishment, and revision of their grading system.
The Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Prisca Mupfumira urged all civil workers to be patient, adding that the government of Zimbabwe is committed to paying their bonuses.
“Government remains committed to honoring the payment of bonuses as announced by His Excellency President R.G Mugabe. Civil servants have always been engaged through the NJNC or directly by myself as the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and my colleagues the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Hon. P Chinamasa or Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya where the reasons for the delayed payment of civil servants bonuses have always been explained fully,” she said.
Last week Zimbabwean doctors proceeded on strike as well, to protest the low pay and harsh working conditions. This led the government to deploy army medics to fill in the gap at the hospitals caused by the doctors’ strike.
She further added that government will give them a feedback by March 6, the date of the next meeting.