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Zimbabwean Vice President fires 16 000 striking nurses

20 April 2018
The Zimbabwean government has fired all nurses who went on strike earlier this week. This extraordinary move might be a tactical attempt by the government to force the nurses back to work. Now the striking nurses are refusing to accept the government’s statement announcing their sacking.

It was the country’s Vice President, Constantino Chiwenga, who released the statement in reaction to the continuing industrial action by the nurses, where he declared their appointments terminated. 

In its response, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA), a PSI affiliate, stated that the union had taken note of the governmental statement: 
We shall approach the High Court on an urgent basis to protect our rights.

Nurses are demanding better pay and improved health services

Simangaliso Mafa, president of ZINA, said the government had acted in “bad faith” and that their action was not procedural. 
We only heard about the firing on the television; the pronouncement was not communicated formally so we are currently engaging our stakeholders and we are following our procedures so we can interrogate the decision and further act. 
ZINA, on Wednesday evening, issued a follow-up statement, detailing its resilience, adding that its members had not received any letter terminating their services by the HSB, which is their employer.
The defiant nurses in the country are on strike, demanding better pay and improved health services. According to the government statement, unemployed and retired nurses would be hired to replace those who had been sacked. 

PSI supports the striking nurses 

In its solidarity message to ZINA, PSI expressed its support for the union and its members in their struggle for a safe working environment and fair remuneration.

Chiwenga: A former military general

Vice President Chiwenga was the military general who led the ousting of Robert Mugabe in November, when the army briefly took control of the country and ushered Emmerson Mnangagwa into the presidency. Zimbabwe is due to hold an election in July or August.

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