Nurses form united front to fight for better working conditions

February 15, 2022

Brenna Matendere

Unions and associations of nurses have formed a single labour federation which the health workers believe will help them fight labour injustice in the sector, Grazers News has learnt.

The federation was established on Sunday, 13 February 2022.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) president, Enock Dongo, is the interim leader of the umbrella body.

The organisations making up the federation are ZINA, Zimbabwe Confederation of Midwives (ZICOM), Clinical Anaesthetists Association (CAA) Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union (ZPNU), Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Nurses Workers Union (ZURCNWU), Nurses Educators Association of Zimbabwe (NEAZ) and Clinical Officers of Zimbabwe (COAZ).

The newly formed federation is called Nurses Federation of Zimbabwe (NFOZ).

Minutes of the first meeting of the federation that were obtained by Grazers News reveal that there is unanimity by the nurses to fight a multi-layered crisis in the health sector, including poor salaries that they say must be increased urgently and paid in US dollars.

Nurses are finding it difficult to seek greener pastures abroad because of bottle necks introduced by government to discourage skills flight.

But the new federation is against the stringent vetting and verification before a nurse can leave the country to work abroad.  

“All unions present questioned the process and changes in the procedures (of vetting the nurses).

“The nurses’ council has the legitimate mandate to run (its) affairs as a self-regulating body in expediting the nurses’ verifications…Alternative solutions are being mooted to enhance speedy, timely verification processes,” read the minutes.

The federation complained that its members were getting a paltry ZW$60 (US50 cents) monthly allowance and ZW$30 000 minimum salary that translates to US$250.

“The current health specific allowances do not reflect that front-liners are essential service providers. Honestly, in a hyper inflationary environment, a paltry ZW$60 cannot buy a single button,” noted part of the minutes.

Douglas Chikobvu, the interim secretary-general of the federation, told Grazers News: “We have been pushing issues from different unions. Now we are one. We have so many grievances that were raised during the inaugural meeting and hope that we will fight to have them addressed by the government. We are an essential sector but totally unhappy,” he said.

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