Nurses fired over just ended strikes

NINE health workers have been dismissed in Chingola and Mkushi for allegedly participating in the just ended strike, Health Workers Union of Zambia (HWUZ) president Chrispin Sampa has said.

And Ndola District Commissioner Moses Mumba has appealed to hospital management and district health management teams to desist from firing or intimidating those who took part in the strike because the Government had issued an amnesty to all the health workers.

Mr Sampa said in an interview in Ndola yesterday that eight workers in Chingola and one in Mkushi had received dismissal letters.

He said the dismissal of the health workers and intimidation should stop because the Government had extended an amnesty to all workers as long as they called off the strike.

He appealed to hospital management teams to adhere to the Government’s decision to give an amnesty to all health workers who called off the strike and had since started reporting for work.

“As partners in development, we have always taken keen interest to ensure that the matter is resolved amicably and without due pressure on either parties.

“It is therefore, prudent that hospital, district health management boards and the Government, should exercise leniency and flexibility and desist from punishing those who participated in the just ended strike in the spirit of harmony and oneness,” Mr Sampa said.

He said the union was determined to strictly follow up Government’s promise to improve the health workers’ conditions of service.

“In its acceptance we expect that the Government will not treat the resuming of work as an issue of business as usual, but that it shall endeavor, this time around to fulfill the position,” Mr Sampa said.

And Mr Sampa also apologised to Zambians for the losses they could have suffered both materially and in terms of lives of friends and relatives during the period in which the health workers withdrew labour.

Mr Mumba said he would follow up reports that some workers who took part in the strike in Ndola were being intimidated and threatened with dismissal.

Meanwhile, the go-slow by University of Zambia (UNZA) lecturers and supporting staff has continued with the unions giving management and the Government a three-day ultimatum in which to resolve the impasse at the institution.

University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) general secretary Fenson Mwape said in an interview lecturers were reporting for work but were not teaching.

Dr Mwape said his members had rejected the three per cent salary increment offered by management and the five per cent ceiling set by the Government for grant-aided institutions.

Dr Mwape said it was the view of the members that if other public service workers were awarded a 15 per cent salary increment, the same should be given to UNZA lecturers and researchers.

He said the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) was talking with the Government on the need to withdraw the circular that was issued by Secretary to the Treasury directing grant-aided institutions not to award pay increases of more than five per cent.

Dr Mwape said the withdrawal of the circular, which was issued on April 8, 2009, would pave way for negotiations between UNZALARU and the university management.

Dr Mwape urged the Government to intervene before the situation degenerated into a full strike.

The union was hopeful that the situation would soon be brought under control, Dr Mwape said.

He dispelled allegations that the lecturers were taking advantage of the returning students to press for increased salaries saying the process had been going on for a long time and that members could no longer hold their patience.

University of Zambia Professional Association (UNZAPROSSA) secretary Joseph Daka in a separate interview said all unionised workers at UNZA had decided to be on go slow.

Mr Daka said the circular issued by the secretary to the treasury was at variance with the provisions of Industrial and Labour Relations Act that provided for free collective bargaining.

He said if the situation was to be quickly resolved, the circular should be withdrawn.
University management and Government officials could not be reached for a comment.

TIMES OF ZAMBIA

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