Nurses in Western Province yesterday went on go-slow over what they termed as unfulfilled wage increase promises by the government.
According to the Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation leader, Ronald Solami, the health workers decided to declare a go slow because their take home salaries had not increased twofold as promised by the government.
Solami told the Daily Nation that they have given government two days to address them, failure to which they would continue with the go slow, as they were not clear on the modalities used to arrive at their new net salaries.
“No one who is coming clear on the issue, and we want the government to come and address us and tell us their position over the matter, and we are expecting government officials to address this matter diligently,” he said.
He said a go-slow by nurses in the country would expose serious challenges the nurses were facing, especially in saving lives.
Some nurses and midwives had planned strike action countrywide over the salary increment following government’s pronouncement that public service will receive a 200 per cent salary hike.
However, reports reaching the Daily Nation revealed that some hospitals on the Copper belt province were in the process of striking today.
But nurses have written to the government seeking intervention and clarification on the hefty deduction from their salaries following a recent wage hike.
The Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation (ZUNO) president Thom Yung’ana said that it has been observed that the nurses felt cheated over the salary hike.
Yung’ana said that some disparities amounting to underpayments were affecting their members because the total increment does not amount to 21 per cent.
Yung’ana explained that the true status after critical analysis of a number of nurses’ and midwives’ September 2013 payslips showed that the revised monthly basic salary amounts for nurses and midwives in salary scales F and G were not effected to some eligible nurses and midwives, contrary to the provisions of the 2013 collective agreement (Appendix 1) signed between ZUNO and the government.
He also complained over the high tax deductions showing on the payslips, adding that PAYE were not determined or agreed upon between the trade unions and government during negotiations, but instead the tax rates were a product of tax laws enacted by Parliament.
“And according to ZUNO’s analysis, it shows that the gross difference basic salary with all allowances before deductions of the lowest paid nurse/midwife (salary scale F) whose basic salary is erroneously increased by 1.1 per cent instead of the agreed upon 4 per cent, is K1, 091.30 higher than the gross salary (basic salary with all the allowances before deductions – though PAYE is missing on the CDE payslips, of the highest paid cleaner/general worker,” he said.
He said they were various calls for clarification over the salary hike, which he said his organisation had continued advocating and lobbying for the downward revision of tax rates, especially this time around, when the 2014 national budget was to be tabled in Parliament.
Yung’ana advised the members to actively participate in lobbying their policymakers and parliamentarians to revisit the tax laws.
But government through the Minister of Health, Joseph Kasonde said that the issue had already been brought to the attention of the government and corrective measures were being undertaken.