VP Chiwenga Accused Of Blocking Salary Increases
Some disgruntled nurses are accusing Vice President Constantino Chiwenga of blocking salary and allowance increases in the health sector as punishment for past strikes and demonstrations.
This comes after the government increased salaries for teachers, police officers, the army, and pensioners, with no mention of the health sector.
A letter dated April 4, 2023, stated an increase in cushioning allowances to US$200 and a US$250 COVID-19 allowance, which nurses will not be receiving for unspecified reasons.
These increases were set by the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC), but negotiations for health sector employees who have threatened industrial action since Chiwenga’s appointment as Health Minister have yet to occur. Reads the government memorandum on the salary changes:
The approved review is as follows; 100% remuneration review to gross ZWL emoluments from Deputy Director and below for all sectors.
Usanetseke neNetOne airtime.
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Reviewing Cushioning and Covid Allowance from US$200 to US$250 per month across all sectors, excluding health sector, whilst Government Pensioners will be paid US$100 per month in USD Nostro Accounts paid concurrently with ZWL$ salaries. Health Sector shall be paid a USD Allowance of US$200 in the same manner.
Teachers will receive US$80 teaching allowance payable at the prevailing inter-bank rate with effect from 01 April 2023. The Teaching Allowance has replaced the previously introduced School Fees payment facility hence the facility will be discontinued from second term.
Please note that the Transport, Housing, Representation and Special Civil Service Allowances have been consolidated to Administration and In-Service Allowances and is calculated as 30% and 70% of basic salary respectively.”
A nurse at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, who wished to remain anonymous, said that many nurses believe that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga is punishing them for past strikes and demonstrations demanding better wages, working conditions, and allowances. The source also mentioned unconfirmed rumours of stricter verification for those seeking to leave the country. The nurse told NewZimbabwe:
The general feeling is that the Health Minister is punishing us.
Remember he once fired some of us, and was a key advocate for government to criminalise industrial action and is on record saying takajayidzwa (we were spoiled).
It does not make sense that all other civil servants would have their salaries and allowances increased and we do not get communication as to what government is thinking about us.
A doctor at Sally Mugabe Hospital has expressed frustration saying the Zimbabwean government was working tirelessly to demotivate the health sector.
Meanwhile, teachers have dismissed the salary increase they received and are demanding US$1 260 per month to cover their monthly expenses, including rent, medical aid, funeral cover, transportation, food, school fees, and clothing.