Placard-waving nurses at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo yesterday staged a four-hour mass demonstration against the Hospital Chief Executive Officer, Leonard Mabandi, who they accuse of issuing a ‘unilateral’ directive compelling them to start working four-day shifts instead of the two days agreed between the nurses and the Government.
Although Mabandi was reportedly in Harare on Wednesday, multitudes of nurses congregated at his office where they sang and danced to protest songs denouncing their CEO. The nurses waved placards, some of which read: ‘No to slavery, ‘Asidli Vaya (we don’t eat Vaya – a reference to $1 transport that the hospital organised for workers to cushion them against $7 charged by kombis)’.
Mabandi last Monday issued the circular instructing the nurses to revert to four-day shifts despite the officially agreed two-day shifts.
Last year, the Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (Zina) signed an agreement with the Government which gave provision for the incapacitated nurses to work two days of 12-hour shifts per week.
The Mpilo nurses’ demonstration brought hospital business to a standstill between 8am and 12pm yesterday.
Zina provincial chairperson, Mr Nicholas Chidora told the state-controlled Chronicle that since last week the nurses were being forced to work for four days.
“Zina last year agreed with the Government to allow nurses to work for two days of 12-hour shifts. We adopted the working schedule which was agreed by Government during the period when the doctors were on strike. However, on Monday last week Mr Mabandi issued a circular instructing nurses to go back to normal duties without even addressing our issues. As nurses we are demonstrating today to send a message that we will not revert to the normal working hours until the institution addresses our grievances as nurses,” Chidora said.