Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
Hearings for six executive members of the Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Nurses Workers’ Union (ZURCNWU), who are on suspension, failed to kick off on Monday after a fallout between the employer and the nurses.
Harare City Council suspended the executive members of the nurses’ representatives body on December 5 for allegedly inciting others not to report for work, and for embarking on an illegal industrial action.
The suspended employees are Charles Manyarara, Yeukai Nyanhunga, James Tadzirwa, Tedious Chisango, Fortunate Mapfumo and Simbarashe Tafirenyika.
ZURCNWU president Mr Tafirenyika said the hearings could not take place after the employer had set different times and venues for the hearings, despite knowing that they were all being represented by one lawyer.
“The hearings which began last Friday started off with three of our colleagues in (the) company of our legal representative and nothing came out of that meeting,” he said.
Mr Tafirenyika said he was one of the remaining three workers who were set to appear at Monday’s hearing, but had a challenge with the employer who wanted Mr Cosmas Bungu, the chairperson of Harare Municipality Workers’ Union, to be part of the proceedings.
The duo refused the arrangement.
Their lawyer queried the logic behind splitting the cases for the hearings, yet she was representing all of them. This saw a postponement request being lodged to a later date, at the same venue for all the six, since the nurses are facing similar charges.
January 7 next year has been set as the provisional date of the hearing subject to the local authority’s consent.
Council officials from the human resources department yesterday declined to comment on the matter and avoided further questions.
City Health Director Dr Prosper Chonzi said he was not aware of the outcome of hearings. He said the executive members were suspended for allegedly threatening their colleagues who were reporting for duty.
Suspension of the nurses’ leaders is thought to have contributed to the return of almost 90 percent of the nurses to work. All of Harare’s polyclinics are now fully operational.
At the height of the industrial action, only five of the polyclinics were functional at night.
Nurses had cited incapacitation since November 4 and only about 23 out of the more 200 expected reported for duty.
“Now I am happy to report that more than 90 percent of our nurses since last week are now reporting for work,” said Dr Chonzi. “We had scaled down on the services that we were providing, but now most of our services have resumed.”
Dr Chonzi said the city council was still addressing the nurses’ grievances, and expectations were high that they will have their salaries adjusted in addition to getting housing stands.
A number of partners, especially UN agencies, have come on board with other incentives to ensure health services were not disrupted going forward.