Healthcare staff stroll out over wage cuts

After we anticipated government to lift salaries because of inflation, they decided to slash earnings, says nurse group official

Hospital staff at Zimbabwe’s largest hospital walked out on Wednesday, expressing anger over the government’s choice to abruptly minimize their salaries by no less than 50 %.

Most of those protesting at Parirenyatwa Hospital within the capital Harare stated they were earning between $7,000-$10,000 Zimbabwean {dollars} (ZW) a month ($100-$130) earlier than their earnings have been slashed to ZW$3,500-$5,000 amid crushing estimated inflation of 900%.

“We have been taken by surprise at a time when we anticipated the government to extend salaries due to inflation, they decided to slash our meager earnings,” stated Enock Dongo of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA).

“We want money that can buy [protection] so that we can satisfactorily cope with COVID-19 coming from our homes.”

“We’re not so sure why they garnished our salaries, they nonetheless owe us an explanation, that’s why we’re protesting,” stated Douglas Chikobvu, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union.

The protests took place in Harare, where nurses, medical doctors, radiographers, and different support employees demanded answers over the varying deductions together with allowances for COVID-19 frontline staff.

The protestors have been waving signs with messages similar to “$40 can’t cover your daily expenses,” “we’re nurses and humans too,” “we need more money,” and “we’re hungry.”

In the meantime, troopers and police tightened a lockdown safety in main cities and cities, turning people back home for unexplained reasons.

The hospital staff strike may hamper efforts to cope with COVID-19 in a country that has recorded 391 confirmed circumstances together with 4 deaths to this point.

In the meantime, the government has responded by raising civil service wages and allowances.

“With immediate effect all Civil Servants salaries shall be adjusted upwards by 50%, in addition all civil servants will be paid a flat non-taxable COVID-19 allowance of $75 per month,” a Finance Ministry statement stated.

“The interim arrangement is for 3 months starting from June 2020.”

However Dongo expressed concern that the government is avoiding negotiations and announcing salary adjustment through statements instead of dialogue.

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