The Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union (ZPNU) has condemned Cassava Smartech’s VAYA Zimbabwe for its decision to stop picking up health workers from home and limiting the transport support service from the central business district to their workplace and back only.
In a statement on Tuesday, ZPNU secretary-general Douglas Chikobvu slammed VAYA for allegedly subduing nurses when they were ready to rise up against the government, and then dumping them later. He said:
It never rains but pours for nurses who have been enjoying the VAYA Shuttle but just from the blue a message of pain and misery emerged without any prior notice.
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No one had even budgeted for transport since we have been in safe mode, to and from the workplace as we nicely and tirelessly worked to thwart COVID-19.
… The latest arrangement is a sterile makeshift arrangement without basis and lacks logic.
How can they offer to ferry nurses a 1,5km drive while neglecting the thorny 10 plus kilometres nurses will come from to link to work?
If the VAYA is feeling the heat, let them stop servicing nurses forthwith as their approach will diffuse nurses labour movements as we pursue sustainable means and ways to our welfare.
We say VAYA bye, you came to subdue the chorus of nurses at a time when we were loaded to rise up and tell the employer the tune for a living wage and better working conditions.
Chikobvu said so far nurses in Gweru and Mutare had received the notices of withdrawal of the transport facility.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe & Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe Group Media & Corporate Communications Executive, Fungai Mandivheyi said the company has simply reverted to its original offer to ferry nurses to their places of work and back to a central point where they catch public transport.
He said the arrangement to ferry nurses from home was only temporary and at the request of major hospitals during level one of the coronavirus lockdown.