- Title: Zimbabwean nurses protest to demand U.S. dollar salaries
- Date: 6th July 2020
- Summary: HARARE, ZIMBABWE (JULY 6, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ZIMBABWE'S NURSES SINGING AND CHANTING AT A PROTEST NURSE HOLDING A POSTER WRITTEN (English): "No U.S. Dollar, No Work" VARIOUS OF NURSES EXPLAINING TO POLICE WHY THEY ARE PROTESTING A CRYING NURSE SHOWING THE POLICE HER PAYSLIP (SOUNDBITE) (English/Shona) UNIDENTIFIED NURSE, SAYING: "We are seeing that the government of Zimbabwe has nothing to offer, we are on the 19 day but they are clueless with our situation while we are waiting for our issues to be addressed by the government." MORE OF NURSES PROTESTING NURSE HOLDING A PLACARD WRITTEN (English): "MAID 50 U.S. NURSE 30 U.S." (SOUNDBITE) (English/Shona) UNIDENTIFIED NURSE, SAYING: "As a nurse am suppose to be at the hospital helping those who are in need am failing to because l don't have bus fare." NURSES WALKING OUTSIDE HARARE HOSPITAL (SOUNDBITE) (Shona) UNIDENTIFIED NURSE, SAYING: "The money 3000 is not enough, everything is pegged in U.S. dollars, our landlords want their money, our school kids need money, right now the government brought police to Harare hospital to prevent us from demonstrating, we are incapacitated, we want money that can buy goods, our families are struggling, we are in trouble with debts because the government is not paying us, this is not fair." MORE OF NURSES WALKING OUTSIDE HARARE HOSPITAL (SOUNDBITE) (English) HARARE HOSPITAL NURSE, PRETTY GUDZA, SAYING: "At the moment we cannot afford even to do anything. The money that I earned this month, I could not even pay for two rooms, I have got four kids, I need four rooms cannot pay my rent, I cannot eat so the situation is bad and our cause is justified." MORE OF NURSES PROTESTING NURSE HOLDING A PLACARD WRITTEN (English): "Nurses can't breathe" MORE OF NURSES SPEAKING TO POLICE VARIOUS OF POLICE ARRESTING NURSES POLICE STANDING AROUND POLICE VAN DRIVING AWAY WITH NURSES
- Embargoed: 20th July 2020 14:38
- Keywords: economic hardships nurses strike soaring inflation
- Location: HARARE, ZIMBABWE
- City: HARARE, ZIMBABWE
- Country: Zimbabwe
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001CLO7GPJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Police in Zimbabwe arrested 12 nurses protesting outside state hospitals on Monday demanding to be paid in U.S. dollars as inflation running at nearly 800% was eroding their salaries.
The economic crisis under President Emmerson Mnangagwa has revived memories of the hardships of more than a decade ago when hyperinflation wiped out savings and pensions and forced the country to dump its currency in favour of the U.S. dollar.
The demonstrations, including at Zimbabwe's biggest hospital in the capital Harare, come at a time COVID-19 cases are rising in the southern African nation, which has recorded 716 infections and eight deaths so far.
Nurses holding placards reading "No U.S. dollar no work" and "#Nurses can't breath" said they had to protest because they cannot survive on a monthly salary of 3,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($47).
"The situation is bad and our cause is justified," Pretty Gudza, a mother of four told Reuters during the protest in Harare.
Nurses also gathered in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second biggest city to demand better pay.
Mnangagwa's government announced a 50% salary hike for state employees last month and a $75 allowance for three months but workers said the increase was not reflected in their June pay.
Zimbabwe reintroduced its local currency last year after a decade of official use of the U.S. dollar but the local currency rapidly lost value, sending prices rocketing and raising fears of renewed hyperinflation.
Zimbabwe's inflation rate stands at 785%, one of the highest in the world, while businesses charge in U.S. dollars and use black market rates to calculate prices in the local currency, making goods too expensive for many.
Last month, Zimbabwe suspended trade on the stock exchange and some mobile phone payments, which account for over 80% of all transactions, as part of efforts to arrest the local currency's slide.
(Production: Gift Sukala, Sisipho Skweyiya)
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