Home » Culture » Zimbabwe: Salary Delays a Threat to Health Sector, Nurses Warn As Unions Ignore Pay Talks With Ministers

UNIONS representing civil servants refused to attend a meeting with government ministers Monday over the latest shift in pay dates as the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) warned the Zanu PF administration against taking its members for granted.

A circular from finance minister permanent secretary Willard Manungo released last week indicated that the financially crippled government would delay pay days for the country's 500,000-strong civil service.

Government workers are normally paid mid-month but Manungo said the security services should now expect their salaries at the end of June, while teachers and nurses would only be paid on July 7 and July 14 respectively.

On Monday, finance ministers Patrick Chinamasa, health minister David Parirenyatwa and public service counterpart Prisca Mupfumira as well as central bank head John Mangudya turned up for a meeting scheduled to discuss the delay with civil service unions.

But union leaders snubbed the gathering.

Apex council head Cecelia Alexander explained their no-show.

"This follows its (government's) failure to disclose pay dates to the meeting with them on June 15, 2016 only to leak the same information to the media," she said.

"Barely 48 hours after the meeting, the Minister telephonically summons the Apex Council to a meeting whose agenda is a closely guided secret.

" ... and we have resolved that Government should formally invite workers to a meeting to discuss the urgent issue of the unilateral declaration of pay dates released to the media.

"We advise Government that the Apex Council will not be responsible for the workers' reaction to this attack on their livelihoods of all government workers do not receive their salaries by the traditional due dates."

Minister Mupfumira said they would try to reconvene the meeting on Wednesday.

"We are all affected (by the pay delay), but we needed to understand if this is going to be a normal thing or it will change.

Nurses warn government

"They (unions) missed that opportunity but anyway we are saying they should come on Wednesday and the same team will be ready to talk to them," she said.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZNA) said the government must not take its members for granted and warned that the pay delay would adversely impact health care delivery in the country.

ZNA secretary general Enock Dongo said government should note that "nurses are living in abject poverty in rented accommodation and have commitments to pay such as utility bills and provision of basic commodities to their families".

He went to say that "it is regrettable that the hard working patriotic nurse at work, who is the bread winner with children to feed, clothe, send to school, will fail to carry out his /her duties due to this unforeseen circumstances far beyond his /her control.

"The nurse won't be in a stable state and this will compromise the care given to the patients; instead, the nurse will be a hazard to the clients and self.

"Government should think seriously on the health of the nation. The question to be answered by the government is how the nurses are going to meet their obligations beyond the June pay-day."

Meanwhile, explaining the pay delays, minister Mupfumira said: "(We are) not producing much for export.

"Industry is not moving according to plan and this means low revenue. Government has been trying to borrow money to pay people without productivity.

"Government is trying at least to pay workers; it (salary) might be delayed but it will be paid."

Source: New Zimbabwe