VP Chiwenga warns striking nurses

By Rutendo Jiri

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has warned nurses unilaterally withdrawing their labour that they will face disciplinary action.

VP Chiwenga was briefing the 39th Cabinet meeting, where he noted that, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) openly challenged Cabinet’s decision on the cancellation of flexi- hours for nurses. He said that a register would be marked to expose nurses who fail to turn up for work.

“Cabinet resolved to cancel the flexi hours arrangement and that nurses who fail to report for duty be submitted to disciplinary processes, that daily attendance registers by nurses be submitted to the Health Services Board (HSB) and the Ministry of Health and Child Care Head Office,” he said.

VP Chiwenga also highlighted that nursing services will now be restructured.

“Nursing services will now be restructured supported by three pillars namely, contract workers, Health Services Permanent Workers and Secondment from the Uniformed Forces,” he said.

The flexi-hours system had been introduced at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic after nurses cited incapacitation.

However, at the ease of the lockdown, Government reversed the flexi-hours so as to ensure that there was continuity of service provision and adequate coverage.

Other nurses associations have complied with Government directive to scrap flexi hours and only the ZINA has failed to heed Government’s directive.

VP Chiwenga told Cabinet that the HSB has commenced disciplinary hearings for at least 1 280 nurses who have not complied with the directive.