OVER 600 nurses at Chitungwiza Central Hospital downed their tools yesterday in protest over unpaid allowances, grading anomalies and poor work conditions.
By Phyllis Mbanje
Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (Zina) organising secretary Mugove Chipfurutse confirmed the industrial action which by midday yesterday had reportedly paralysed operations at the hospital.
Chipfurutse said nurses at other public hospitals throughout the country were likely to join the work stoppage today.
Chitungwiza Central Hospital chief executive officer Obadiah Moyo confirmed the strike, but declined to disclose the nature of the nurses’ grievances.
When NewsDay visited the hospital in the afternoon, most critical wards including maternity wing were being managed by skeleton staff, mostly student nurses.
Zina members complained of unfair distribution of money meant for allowances, grading anomalies and government’s failure to review night duty allowances.
“Some were getting a paltry $3 per month as allowances for night duty and yet they are the people who do the entire
donkey work,” Chipfurutse said.
Harare Central Hospital clinical director George Vera said: “We are waiting for Zina to tell us what to do but for now, we are here working.”
However, Parirenyatwa Hospital chief executive officer Thomas Zigora said nurses at the hospital were working as usual.
“As of now, the nurses are working as is the norm and no one is on strike. All departments are fully functional,” he said.
Elsewhere in the country nurses were threatening to join the strike if the government failed to come up with concrete answers to their grievances.
Both Health minister David Parirenyatwa and permanent secretary Retired Brigadier Gerald Gwinji could not be reached for comment yesterday.