Over 100 nurses from the the University Teaching hospital-Zambia’s largest tertiary hospital have been fired.The dismissal letters were dated 2nd December 2013 and stated that the Public Service commission was acting under the directive of President Sata.
The letter also stated that the period from 22nd November to 2 December will not be counted as leave days and any monies owed government will be deducted from Terminal benefits.
Senior doctors who sort anonymity expressed disappointing at Government’s tactic of intimidation and wondered what will be achieved from firing so many nurses.
Meanwhile the UTH main operating theater has been closed.
Chronicle of events
Signing ceremony between CSAWUZ and Government for salary increment
In March of this year after what was called a ‘successful conclusion’ of negotiations between Government and the Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ),Government announced that it would increase salaries for civil servants with some getting as high as 200 percent effective September 1, 2013.
The signing ceremony took place in Lusaka on the 26th March 2013 at the Public Service Management Division offices.Permanent secretary at Public Service Management Division Velepi Mtonga described the meeting as a successful conclusion of the negotiations and a clear demonstration of Government’s desire to improve the welfare of its employees.
UPND doubts PF commitment to increasing salaries
However as the year progressed the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) expressed cast doubt on the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s commitment to honoring the Septemeber 1 improved salaries and conditions of service for civil servants as per 2013 collective agreement.
Finance Minister announces postponement of salary increment
In mid August Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said that the 2013 civil servants collective agreement which was scheduled to come into effect on the 1st September would instead be effected on 1st October.
October Nurses Strike
When October rolled in some nurses discovered that their payslips reflected a monthly basic salary increment by 1.1% only, instead of the agreed 4%.Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation confirmed that the total increment of salary for some health workers did not amount to 21%.
Health Minister Assures Parliament
Health minister Joseph Kasonde responded by saying the disparities were merely a problem associated with the new salary management and migration from a fragmented salary structure to a single spine structure that Government was implementing.
The health minister assured parliament that the matter was purely a payroll issue and had nothing to do with the collective agreement.
November strike by Nurses
ON November 22 the nurses went on strike again after government for the second time failed to implement a 21% salary increment .
“This Shamenda man came here last month when we initially went on strike and told us that we should put his head on the chopping board if government does not pay us our 21 percent salary increments. Our October salaries are still showing 4 percent and now we want Shamenda to come back to UTH and we chop off his head,” one angry nurse said.
December Nurses fired under directive of the Republican President