Copperbelt Nurses join the strike

Kitwe Central Hospital
THE strike by nurses has continued spreading with Ndola Central Hospital staff joining to protest the alleged low salary increment awarded by Government.

In Lusaka, the Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation (ZUNO) was yesterday locked in a series of talks with members and Health minister Joseph Kasonde to resolve the impasse.

Dr Kasonde is today expected to hold a press conference on the continued strike action by the nurses.

Union officials could not immediately disclose the outcome of yesterday’s meetings.

A Check at Ndola Central Hospital  yesterday found nurses waving banners denouncing union officials and calling on them to step down.

The nurses vowed not to go back for work until their grievances were met.

“We will not go back to work until we are addressed by the Health Minister Joseph Kasonde, we also want our basic salaries to be increased by 75 per cent and not four per cent,” the nurses chanted.

And a check at Arthur Davison Hospital in Ndola also found that pharmacists had also joined the protest.

A check yesterday found the pharmacy at the country’s children referral hospital closed with affected mothers waiting outside.

In Kitwe, the nurses and pharmacists had continued with the work stoppage.

Kitwe Central Hospital (KCH) spokesperson Gray Chishimba said the strike by the nurses and pharmacists at the institution was propelled by the issue of low increment of salaries.

“The services are not satisfactory at the moment and we are urging the unionists to engage in talks with the workers in order for the institution to resume the normal operations,” he said.

And ZUNO Copperbelt acting chairperson Ernest Mumba has dismissed the legitimacy of the strike, saying the union was still in talks with the Ministry of Health over the issue.

Mr Mumba acknowledged that about 50 nurses were presently not working over the alleged failure by the Ministry of Health to adhere to the four per cent increment which was previously agreed upon.