News / Africa

Striking Health Workers Defy Zambia Minister’s Order

Zambia's President Michael Sata speaks to journalists at the 18th African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, Jan. 2012 file photo.
Zambia's President Michael Sata speaks to journalists at the 18th African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, Jan. 2012 file photo.
Peter Clottey
Nurses and midwives of Zambia’s University Teaching Hospital say they’re refusing to return to work until the government keeps a promise to improve their living conditions.

The health workers, who began their strike last week, have so far defied health minister Dr. Joseph Kasonde’s demand to go back to work.

“I am not appealing to them, but I am directing and instructing them as their employer to resume work with immediate effect,” said Kasonde.

But, the workers refuse to return to work contending that President Michael Sata’s government has yet to honor a promise to increase their salaries. The group representing the health workers union is part of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

Leonard Hikaumba, president of the ZCTU, has called for dialogue to resolve the impasse.

“There has been an approach of using some sort of intimidation and using threats for nurses and midwives to go back to work,” said Hikaumba. “But our belief is that, if they went back to work as a result of such an approach, [it] would not work according to expectations. What we want is the settlement of this problem amicably, so that even as they go back to work they would be satisfied their issues are being given due attention.”

Zambians have expressed concern that patients will suffer over the stalemate between the government and the striking workers.

Some administration officials blame the striking workers for not using the right channels to resolve their grievances, and accuse them of holding the administration to ransom.

Hikaumba insisted the administration should keep its promise.

“There was an indication from some top government officials that workers had been given 200 percent salary increase. So, when they received their new salaries and conditions of service, they discovered that was not the case, and that is what sparked off the protest,” said Hikaumba.

He said the workers want the government to detail how it will address their concerns.

“They want to hear from government what progress has been made in regards to the grievances that they had,” said Hikaumba. “In our meeting we had with them today, there is an indication that they would be willing to go back to work, as long as the government comes out clearly on the position [of] what they had promised.”

Hikaumba said the striking health workers are unlikely to succumb to threats and intimidation.

He however expressed hope that the stalemate could soon be resolved.

“It is our expectation that very soon we should be able to convince the striking workers to get back to work, and ensure that the bargaining process, which has just started, be carried out in a transparent manner , and that something should be considered for the health workers  arising from the grievances that they’ve put across,” said Hikaumba.
Clottey interview with Leonard Hikaumba, president Zambia Trade Union
Clottey interview with Leonard Hikaumba, president Zambia Trade Unioni
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid