Government has fired all striking nurses with immediate effect. ZBC News reports that the nurses were fired after rejecting a $17.1 million offer. According to a statement released by Chiwenga, Government today released and transferred a sum of $17 114 446 into the account of the Ministry of Health and Child Care for on-payment to the striking nurses.
In a statement, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said has instructed the Health Services Board to employ all unemployed but trained nurses in the country. There are currently 4000 unemployed trained nurses who could not be absorbed into hospitals. Said Chiwenga:
Accordingly, Government has decided, in the interest of patients and of saving lives, to discharge all the striking nurses with immediate effect. Further, Government has now instructed the Health Services Board to speedily engage, as appropriate, all unemployed but trained nurses in the country. It has also authorized the Board to recall retired nursing staff into the service.
Nurses went on strike on Monday accusing Government of reneging on an agreement which was reached at the beginning of this month. Health and Childcare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa had earlier promised that Government is looking into ways of resolving the differences. He however went on to threaten all the nurses who do no return to work with disciplinary action.
According to Zimbabwe labour laws nurses are not allowed to strike because they offer an essential service. In terms of the Labour (Declaration of Essential Services) Notice, 2003 (SI 137 of 2003), section 2(e), health services are declared an essential service. An essential service is any service the interruption of which endangers immediately the life, personal safety or health of the whole or any part of the public, in terms of section 102(a) of the Labour Act. In terms of section 104(3)(i) a of the same Act, no collective job action may be engaged in by a person in an essential service.