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Nurses summoned for disciplinary hearing

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THE Health ministry yesterday started sending summons to several nurses in Bulawayo for disciplinary hearing on allegations of misconduct.

BY SILAS NKALA

This comes at a time nurses at public hospitals have threatened to stage sit-in protests to register their displeasure over government’s move to force them to work 40-hour weekly shifts after unilaterally scrapping the flexi hours they had agreed on.

Government this week also announced that it would fire 1 232 striking nurses, which the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) has since described as an attack on trade unionism.

At United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH), the first group of 44 nurses yesterday appeared before the disciplinary tribunal.

They were represented by Jabulani Mhlanga and Prisca Dube of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

In a statement, the ZLHR said that the UBH acting chief executive officer Narcisius Dzvanga had written to the nurses suspended on October 30, saying they would be charged for not reporting for duty after being advised to resume normal 40-hour weekly schedules.

“Dzvanga charged that through their alleged misconduct, the nurses had breached section 4 of the Labour (National Employment Code of Conduct) Regulations, Statutory Instrument 15 of 2006,” the lawyers said.

“The nurses were suspended from duty without salaries and advised to stop reporting for work as doing so would enable them to interfere with some unnamed witnesses. Nurses have for several months been reporting for duty at short working hours per week to compensate for their poor salaries.”

The purge on nurses also comes at a time Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health minister, has threatened to replace striking nurses with medical personnel from the uniformed forces.

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