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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid