Nurses threaten to down tools

Nurses and midwives countrywide have threatened to down tools over the modalities which the government is going to use to increase their salaries.

The nurses have been demanding that their salaries be adjusted based on the net salaries whilst the government holds that the increment will be on the before tax basic salary.

Nevertheless, the Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation (ZUNO) research and information officer Chrispin Zulu said there was no need to panick because the organisation was ready to clarify the perceived confusion.

Zulu said his organisation has expressed concern over confusion caused by the new salaries increments following the government’s pronouncement that public service workers would be getting their new wages by the end of this month.

Zulu said that he was concerned about the confusions among nurses and said that the organisation would soon explain the breakdown accordingly so that the issue was brought to an end.

He appealed to nurses and midwives to do their work professionally as they were needed in society, saying confusions would only affect their work.

Zulu explained that the confusion came about because most nurses were calculating the 2013 increment based on their previous net pay, and that they were expecting to get arrears, but instead the increment was based on their basic pay and not on their previous net pay.

“And also, for the first time, the 2013 collective agreement is only effective for 5 months and not 12 months as has it has been the case. So they should not panic but continue to uphold their professionalism, as they are most wanted in the society,” he said.

According to ZUNO, what should increase by 21 per cent as earlier explained by the team are the gross salary and not the net salary. And what should affect their gross salary, 4 per cent of monthly basic as salary increment, 2 per cent of monthly basic as commuted night duty allowance, and 15 per cent of monthly basic as health personnel shift differential allowance, bringing the total on the gross salary to 21 per cent.

He further explained that the gross salary was then subjected to taxes and contributions to mandatory institutions, and the remaining was what was seen as only K300 increment, which he said the gross salary increases, so does their tax obligations.