Zimbabwe: Public Health Workers Given Stern Warning Over Strikes

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GOVERNMENT health workers have been threatened with dismissal if they embark on job action, NewZimbabwe.com has established.

The new Health Services Commission (HSC), an independent commission which replaced the Health Services Board (HSB), warned the workers in a leaked memo.

In 2021, cabinet approved the Health Services Amendment Bill, which was meant to see transformation of the HSB to HSC as a way of ensuring that health services continue to be discharged even if there is a strike.

According to an internal memo seen by NewZimbabwe.com, strikes must not take more than 72 hours if they ever happen and everyone in need of emergency services must be treated even when there is industrial action.

“Health Services Board has been replaced by the Health Services Commission. Health services are classified as critical services and no one should be denied access to emergency services or ICU services, even during a strike.

“Striking by health workers is almost impossible. If a strike happens, it must not last more than 72 hours.”

The memo also stated that the HSC has powers to dismiss members.

“All those intending to strike must give the HSC a 48-hour written notice. HSC has the power to deregister any member from professional body registers after disciplinary procedures,” the memo reads.

Health workers have been staging strikes over longstanding grievances concerning low salaries and poor working conditions and the government at one time fired all nurses who went on an industrial action.

Most health workers in Zimbabwe earn less than US$100 per month.

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