Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Nurses Workers Union president Simbarashe James Tafirenyika said his members were not on industrial action but were incapacitated and cannot afford transport fares among other basics to be at work.
Tafirenyika made the remarks at a press conference in the capital on Thursday.
“We want to make it clear to all residents of Harare and citizens of Zimbabwe that Harare City Council nurses are not on strike, but are severely incapacitated,” he said.
The council nurses’ action has further worsened the health delivery system in the country as they join doctors at public medical institutions, who have been not reporting for duty since September 3.
The nurses said they are worried by the deteriorating health delivery situation, but they cannot help it as their salaries have been eroded by hyperinflation.
“Nurses are not spared in the biting economy; they are not living in the vacuum, they have children to look after, they also need food to eat, currently utility bills are sitting on $3 000,” Tafirenyika said.
The nurses said their salaries which used to be equivalent to US$931 was now equivalent to US$46,5 using the prevailing interbank market rate.
Tafirenyika further said the nurses had engaged the city health director for discussions , but they were yet to reach an agreement.
BY CAROLINE NYAMAYARO