Press Statement on Nurses’ Dismissal

The Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT) is astounded shocked by the government’s arbitrary decision to dismiss all the nurses who were exercising their democratic right for Industrial Action as provided for in the constitution under section 65. The decision, communicated in a press statement by the Vice President, informed all nurses who engaged in a collective action that they are immediately dismissed from their duties, which is uncalled for.

As an organization whose main thrust is to promote human rights in all disciplines, we strongly condemn this unfortunate decision. We strongly feel that this can be tolerated from government. The decision constitutes a glaring unfair labor practice, this coming from a country that is signatory to the International Labor Organization Statutes on Labor Rights.

The nurses are not doing it for their own good but they have gone further to demonstrate their concerns and courtesy by demanding for improved working conditions which shall proffer improved access to health care by all citizens. Given this purview, we see the nurses as having a genuine concern which has positive down-stream connotations for everyone seeking health care.

We thus call upon the government to reverse this decision as it militates against the fundamental rights of the citizens. The inevitable effect on the health delivery system will have a disastrous effect on the already vulnerable facilities.

We therefore demand that the government should:

  • Pay particular attention to section 65 of the constitution that empowers employees to actively participate in a collective job action which includes the right to strike action
  • To consider withdrawing the decision on the dismissal of the nurses and immediately reinstate them
  • Urgently attend to the concerns tabled by the nurses as they have the welfare of the citizens at heart
  • Re-look into the budget allocated to the health sector and make necessary amendments so as to improve the quality of citizens’ life
  • We also demand that the presidium desists from making such strong-handed statements as they are indicative of misunderstanding of the constitution
  • Government should make decisions that are guided by the constitutional provisions, not driven by emotions.

Source: Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT)