HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Nurses in Zimbabwe are refusing to work the night shift in the southern African nation's public hospitals and clinics in a nationwide strike over salaries.
Striking nurses are demanding $150 for a weeklong shift, and have described the current pay rate of $3 for a seven-day nightshift as "a mockery," according to union representative Enock Dongo.
The strike has dragged on for a week and the union says nurses may stop working completely if an agreement is not reached. For now, nurses are only working from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and student nurses have been filling in, Dongo said.
Negotiations to end the strike are progressing, said Health Minister David Parirenyatwa.
A national shortage of qualified doctors and a troubled health insurance industry means Zimbabweans rely on nurses in the public sector, said the group Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights.
Zimbabwe's ailing economy has meant that the government is already struggling to pay its workers. The government announced last month it could not afford to pay state workers their annual bonuses until 2017 but President Robert Mugabe overturned that decision, promising to look for funds to do so.