Health unions declare dispute with Govt

170 nurses today graduated from the Lusaka Schools of Nursing.
170 nurses today graduated from the Lusaka Schools of Nursing.

UNIONS representing health workers in Zambia have declared a dispute with Government over the 2014 negotiations for improved salaries and conditions of service.
The unions have since announced the commencement of legal proceedings to press for improved salaries and conditions of service for their members, who include nurses and other health workers in the public sector.
The unions comprising, Health Workers Union of Zambia (HWUZ), Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation (ZUNO) and the Zambia National Union of Health and Allied Workers (ZNUHAW), announced their decision at a joint Press briefing held at Lusaka Hotel yesterday.
HWUZ president Crispin Sampa on behalf of the other union leaders present at the briefing said the health sector unions’ negotiating team declared a dispute following the failure to agree on certain conditions with the Government team.
“We could not reach an agreement on some of the issues that were under negotiations from November 2013 to yesterday (Wednesday) May 28, 2014,” Mr Sampa said.
Mr Sampa, flanked by ZUNO president Tom Yungana and ZNUHAW president Chrispin Mweemba, said the dispute arose from Government’s declaration of salary and employment freeze without consulting stakeholders.
He said the other reasons for the declaration of the dispute were the misplacement of nurses and other health workers with certificates in lower salary scale F in comparison to their counterparts with similar qualifications who have been placed in salary scale G, contrary to the principle guiding the implementation of the newly introduced single spine salary structure.
He also cited failure by the Government to exercise the spirit of give and take despite health sector unions having exercised this principle, which was the hallmark of any collective bargaining process.
He said Government even failed to adjust health personnel differential allowance from 15 to 17 per cent of one’s basic salary.
He said all relevant parties had since been informed of the development and appealed to health workers including nurses and midwives to remain calm.
Meanwhile, Mr Yungana expressed disappointment at the circular by the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) management on behalf of Government to compel doctors, nurses and paramedics to sign essential service certificate.
He described the move as a sign of intimidation and urged the members not to sign it until the declared dispute had been resolved.