Zimbabwe sacks thousands of nurses on strike

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Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who dismissed the nurses in his role as the supervisor of the social services cluster said the continued strike by the nurses was unfortunate since earlier meetings have been held between the government and nurses' association over the matter.

"While this demonstrated good faith from the government ...which has been effected against demonstrable economic challenges facing our nation, (it) has not, quite surprisingly, persuaded the nurses to go back to their work stations in the interest of saving lives and helping patients placed under their care".

The Zimbabwe government has sacked all striking nurses at public hospitals after they turned down a government offer of 17.1 million USA dollars to improve their pay.

Mr Mugabe regularly accused opposition groups of trying to undermine his government by encouraging the public sector strikes that punctuated his time in office.

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"Accordingly, government has decided... to discharge all the striking nurses with immediate effect", the statement said.

The nurses want to be paid other allowances they say were promised by the government in 2010 but never delivered.

The strike by the nurses comes on the heels of a similar industrial action by doctors last month, also demanding better pay and working conditions.

Zimbabwe's Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told state radio even those nurses who were sacked on Tuesday for going on strike can apply to be rehired.

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The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights as well as the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights, in a joint statement, condemned government's move as "dangerous, irresponsible and illogical", and accused the government of being reluctant in responding to "legitimate concerns" raised by health practitioner over the years.

The lowest paid nurse in Zimbabwe earns a gross monthly salary of $284 before allowances, according to Dongo.

Since then, the country has used a number of foreign currencies for daily transactions, including the US dollar, the South African rand, the euro among other currencies.

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