Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda has accused the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND)of inciting nurses to continue with their recent strike.
Mr. Shamenda says the advice ZCTU Secretary General, Roy Mwaba has given to the nurses not to re-apply is an indication that he encouraged them to continue with their illegal strike.
Mr Shamenda says Mr Mwaba now cannot negotiate on their behalf because government’s decision to fire them is final.
He says union leaders should understand that their role is to negotiate on behalf of the workers they represent and not to encourage them to do illegal things.
He has since advised the ZCTU and UPND to stop supporting nurses who have been fired because they did not follow the right procedure.
And Mr Shamenda says the nurses who have been dismissed for going on an illegal strike have forfeited some of their benefits.
He says he sympathizes with the dismissed nurses because they never wanted to listen to government and now they will have to pay for their misconduct.
But ZCTU Secretary General Roy Mwaba has described as unfortunate allegations that the union incited the nurses to continue with the strike.
Mr Mwaba says the ZCTU at various points tried hard to break the impasse between the nurses and government and that it is regrettable that Mr Shamenda can accuse them of being behind the strike.
He says nurses are an important link in the provision of quality health services and the ZCTU cannot be that careless and unpatriotic as to encourage nurses to go on strike and deny society an essential service.
Mr Mwaba adds that there are several instances where the ZCTU has moved in to resolve potentially explosive situations and that it is unfair for Mr Shamenda to drag the union mother body in situations where politicians fail to resolve issues.