CHITUNGWIZA Central Hospital (CCH) nurses who went on strike over night duty allowances earlier this week have returned to work while they wait for government’s response, the hospital’s chief executive has said. Obadiah Moyo said although the dispute has not been settled the employer was currently discussing the way forward.

“Everything is calm and under control now. I have gathered that the government is working to resolve the matter soon. The authorities are currently engaged in meetings aimed at solving this matter,” he said.

Reports from sources suggested that nurses at all of the country’s central hospitals have been on a go-slow since Tuesday. However, Harare Central Hospital clinical director, George Vera, said nurses at his institution did not go on strike and were carrying out their duties as usual. At Parirenyatwa, chief executive, Thomas Zigora, said there was no industrial action at his hospital. There is no strike at our hospital; our nurses are carrying out their duties as usual but you never know what happens. For now, everything is okay,” said Zigora.

However, in the Midlands province, nurses warned that if their grievances were not addressed they would join the strike. Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) organising secretary, Mugove Chipfurutse, last week accused government of not prioritising their working conditions. But Health Services Board (HSB) communications executive, Nyasha Maravanyika said they were surprised the nurses went on strike at a time they were still working to resolve their grievances.

The health and Child Care ministry has been under pressure from staff including doctors and nurses of late. Doctors are calling for the improvement of their on-call allowances as well as salaries. Late last year, doctors embarked on a 21-day strike but all those who participated were later garnished pay for the days they absented themselves from work. Government then introduced a new contract which allows the ministry to withhold payment of interns should they fail to report for duty for over a month or reduce payments depending on the number of days they are absent from work.

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