ZCTU warn govt on fired nurses

The Zambia Congress of Trade Unions has warned that the decision to fire nurses that took part in a recent strike has the potential to cause a huge industrial crisis in Zambia.

ZCTU General Secretary Roy Mwaba said the idea of firing workers when go on strike is archaic.

Mr Mwaba warned that the labour movement has the power to paralyse the country’s industrial base if proved.

“Let it be made clear that the labour movement is not weak. We have chosen the option of negotiation rather than industrial action but government should not take us for granted,” Mr Mwaba said.

He was speaking at a news conference at Lusaka Hotel Wednesday morning in reaction to government’s decision to fire nurses.

“Let it be made clear that the labour movement is not weak. We have chosen the option of negotiation rather than industrial action but government should not take us for granted,” Mr Mwaba said.

The ZCTU Secretary General said government should understand that nurses work under pathetic conditions.

“Whoever advised President Sata to fire the nurses made a huge technical error which they will regret,” Mr Mwaba said.

Mr Mwaba also failed to disclose the exact number of nurses that have been fired.

“We cannot state the exact number of those that have been fired at this stage because some are still receiving their letters of dismissal. What is important for now is to have the nurses reinstated,” Mr Mwaba said.

“Whoever advised President Sata to fire the nurses made a huge technical error which they will regret,” Mr Mwaba said.

Mr Mwaba said government should not push the patience of the labour movement to the limit.

He also condemned Health Minister Joseph Kasonde’s attacks on the labour movement in Parliament on Tuesday.

“It is highly immoral for Dr Kasonde to start attacking us in Parliament knowing fully that we cannot defend ourselves. If he thinks we are irrelevant, let him not push us. We will not be intimidated. The labour movement does not answer to anyone expect the worker,” Mr Mwaba said.

“It is shocking that a country with a critical shortage of health workers would resort to firing a critical cadre of workers such as nurses, it is highly shocking,” he said.

Mr Mwaba said the labour movement had hoped that the era of firing workers was left behind in the Chiluba administration.

“It is shocking that a country with a critical shortage of health workers would resort to firing a critical cadre of workers such as nurses, it is highly shocking,” he said.

Mr Mwaba urged the affected nurses not to rush into reapplying for the vacant positions saying they should wait for government to first respond to their demands.

“Please remain calm as we seek dialogue with government on this issue,” he said.

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