By Trevor Makonyonga
Cabinet has moved the ban for flexible hours which were put in place after nurses declared incapacitation early this year and have also approved that army nurses join public health institutions..
The nurses had been each working for 2 days a week but the government imposed that they revert back to normal hours which has seen tension built between the employer and the employees.
In a cabinet briefing statement on Tuesday, government laid out the impasse but threatened nurses with hearings for failing to comply with the directive.
“Cabinet was briefed by Vice President Honourable C.G.D.N. Chiwenga, as the Minister of Health and Child Care, on the Withdrawal of Labor by Nurses. At its 38th Meeting held on 28 October, 2020 Cabinet was informed that the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) openly challenged the Cabinet decision on the cancellation of the flexi-working arrangement and defied the Secretary for Health and Child Cares directive for the Association to reverse its statement.
“Cabinet resolved to cancel the flexi hours arrangement and that nurses who fail to report for duty be subjected to disciplinary processes, that daily attendance registers for nurses be submitted to the Health Services Board and the Ministry of Health and Child Care Head Office; and that nursing services be restructured to be supported by three pillars; namely contract workers; Health Service Permanent Workers; and Secondment from the Uniformed Forces,” read the statement.
The government also said that 1280 nurses were due to face disciplinary hearings as a result of their failure to comply to the government’s call.
“Unfortunately some nurses, have continued to defy the Government directive banning the Flexi Hours regime. The various nurses labor organizations comprising the Zimbabwe Nurses Association; Confederation of Nurses Association; Theatre Nurses Association and the Nurses Educators Association met with the Health Services Board and resolved to comply with the Government directive save for the Zimbabwe Nurses Association”.
A total of 1 280 nurses failed to heed to the call to return to normal working hours. The Health Services Board has started instituting disciplinary hearings for the defiant nurses.”
Meanwhile, the cabinet gave numbers of compliance to the opening of schools with a pathetic 27.16% in teacher attendance being recorded.
“Regarding primary and secondary education, Cabinet was informed that grade 6, form 3 and lower 6th classes resumed on 26 October 2020, under Phase 2 of the re-opening of schools.
The overall learner attendance rate for Phase 2 was 32.02%, with the highest attendance rate being recorded in Masvingo province (54.95%) while Matebeleland North and South had the lowest, with 7.10% and 13%, respectively.
The overall teacher attendance rate for the week was 27.16%, representing a 5,71% increase from the 21.45% recorded last week.” With phase 3 of opening being on Monday November 9, the government has been locked in meetings with workers which are said to have reached a deadlock.