COSATU condemns Zimbabwean government’s intimidation and harassment of its health care workers

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is outraged by the arrest and subsequent dismissal of at least twelve Zimbabwean nurses, who were peacefully protesting over deteriorating pay and working conditions, at the Harare Hospital. Whilst the nurses have since been released on bail — they have been dismissed from their jobs. The government has announced that it would not be engaging in any form of Collective Bargaining for the next three months. This attack is a gross violation of trade union and human rights, and we urgently call on the government to immediately reinstate all the nurses and to listen to their legitimate demands and concerns.

The Federation further condemns the continued intimidation and harassment of all health workers in Zimbabwe, who as many health workers on the continent, are at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic and working under poor chronicle conditions. This deepening crisis has huge implications for health workers who have been providing services to citizens impacted by the deteriorating conditions and state repression. Health workers are in a precarious situation as they attempt to respond and uphold the health system while their own health is under threat.

COSATU stands in solidarity with the workers in Zimbabwe, and strongly condemns the repression of the government. We expect human rights will be upheld, as is enshrined in the Zimbabwe Constitution. COSATU joins the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and Public Service International (PSI) affiliate – Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) in calling on the government to:

(i)    Immediately ensure nurses and all other health workers are provided with adequate PPE,

(ii)  Pay the outstanding COVID-19 allowances, and

(iii) Return to the Bipartite Negotiating Panel for collective bargaining on ZINA’s legitimate demand for an upward review of the salaries of its members.

Issued by COSATU 

Cde Sonia Mabunda-Kaziboni- COSATU International Secretary

Tel: 072 535 1577-066 139 4220