Govt targets union leaders

Local News
Civil servants, including nurses, have been pressing for United States dollar salaries.

BY PRIVELEDGE GUMBODETE PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has intensified its clampdown on labour unions after Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union (ZPNU) president Robert Chiduku was summoned to appear before a disciplinary hearing on August 5 for allegedly taking part in a strike in May.

Civil servants, including nurses, have been pressing for United States dollar salaries.

The May health workers strike brought the health sector to a halt.

Chiduku’s hearing comes after Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure has been jailed for demanding the release of his colleague, Robson Chere who was arrested for the same murder he was arrested for.

In a letter addressed to him, the Health and Child Care ministry summoned Chiduku for a hearing on August 5 for issuing derogatory statements in the Press including social media posts attacking senior government officials and bringing the health sector into disrepute.

“You again used the time off work to conduct union business. The effect of your conduct is that the provision of health services and care to patients was seriously undermined,” the letter read.

ZPNU secretary-general Douglas Chikobvu has described the charges as “frivolous”.

“Just after nurses’ incapacitation, ZPNU leadership has been under investigation for frivolous charges. Monumental labour injustices have been observed to possibly purge or suppress the voices of all progressive labour bodies,” Chikobvu said, adding that nurses were now under siege after declaring incapacitation.

“We urge responsible authorities to respect the genuine and legit labour rights of nurses.”

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union secretary-general Japhet Moyo said an International Labour Organisation report of April 2022 decried victimisation of trade unions in Zimbabwe.

“At the moment we are crafting a social contract between organised labour, organised business and government, and such developments like victimisation of unionists tend to dent social dialogue,” Moyo said.

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