The Medical Buzz

Voice of the MedicalProfessional and Allied Workers Union
Volume 1 of 2010 . Harare 1st floor Crossroads Building N0, 43 Julius Nyerere Ways Telefax (04) 704209 Email mpawuz@gmail.com

Support St Anne`s nurses ...Say no to Starvation wages demand living wages

Its deliver y time now ... delivery now
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many wor ers ork as many workers join the union
Hullo comrades Compliments of the new year 2010, l hope you all had a restful holiday though you had no enough resources to enjoy it to its fullest , me included.Hopefully we all opened the year 2010 with the same spirit we had last year that is an uncompromising urge to end an unjust system that breeds greediness and shamelesness amongst our bosses who prefer to consume more on their own whilst we pine in unbridled poverty forgetting that its us who toil the most to produce the wealth they enjoy singly. .Many of our kids are going to drop off from schools as we cant afford school fees yet we have information to the effect that some kids of parents who work at our places facing similar viability challenges as we are told are being send to expensive schools locally and even abroad using the wealth we produce ... How long shall the discrepancy exist? Anyway , thats the way it is but its not meant to last for ever . Our struggle is not an isolated struggle at all but its part of a global struggle being waged by the working people in rejection of a failed neoliberal system ( a system that pushes profits extracted from exploitation ahead of human lives). Its a system that has caused many workers to live in abduct poverty. However , Medical Buzz appreciates unanimous support it continues to get from most medical institutions it has so far been able to contact . Our membership far exceeds our December target. Reaching that remarkable target was not a walk in the park as special credit has to go to all comrades who incessantly sacrificed their time to recruit by all means neccessary .Comrade President and collegues at West End hospital your contribution is priceless job well done comrades .(really M Sambo General Secretary

women can do it am convinced) Mudhara treasurer your commitment is unparalleled , l find it easy to work with people with such mega commitment like yours . Munotipawo shingiso .The list is infinite but I feel indebted to EMF and Clinical lab employees muri magamba chaiwo keep it up .
Our key challenge now is to make sure we cover areas outside Harare where we have no membership .We have some members out of Harare on few institutions like CIMAS, MARS and EMRAS courtesy to our comrades working in the same institutions here in Harare but we need to expand beyond that .Hopefully moneteray problems which restrained us last year are not going to recur as many centres start remitting subscriptions . .The curtain is coming down for aggressive recruitment drive as we now focus on more other important issues ahead of us such as the NEC issue which is just by the corner, the ZCTU issue membership . Above all Thanks comrades for bit by bit we have managed to be where we are now moreso with a zero budget . Its a Red Hot Union rega uonezvako , Join it !!! and as well as servicing our

Our own NEC for the Medical sector by March ...it’s a must ..

Workers know your rights
The Rights of Workers Committees
WORKERS COMMITTEES ARE A VERY IMPORTANT ORGAN OF WORKERS STRUGGLES which emerged

This provides powerful rights to workers. Under section 25A (5) and (6) the employer must consult the Workers Council before implementing any of the following things: a) Restructuring of the work place to introduce new technology or work methods . b)Job grading and training schemes or development of new products .c) Closure of factory or any intention to sell or merge the company.. d) Implimentation of any code of conduct ,whether registered or not. e)The criterion for payment of bonuses or profit sharing. f)Retrenchment of employees, whether voluntary or compulsory. Before implementing the above, the employer must give the workers committee full written information, sufficient time for them to study them and to hold meetings with workers to consult them so that they come with any alternative proposals; to consider the alternative proposals advanced by workers and to try its best to reach agreement with the workers; and if it agrees to give in writing its reasons for refusing. If a boss proceeds to implement the above without consulting the workers committee, the following options are available for workers: a) To go on immediate strike under section 104(4) stating that there is an immediate threat to the existence of the workers committee b) Alternatively, workers can do a partial strike, refusing to carry out or implement the changes by the employer until it consults the Workers Committee. Such refusal would not be disobedience to a lawful instruction , as the changes by the employer would be illegal; To make an application to a Labour Officer to conciliate on the matter ; and if it is of a very urgent nature to immediately then make an application for an interdict or injunction to the Labour Court, stopping the employer from applying those measures .

in 1979-80 formed spontaneously by activists who were disillusioned by sell outs and cowardly trade union leaders of that time. In 1979-1980 thousands of workers in over 300 companies went on wild –cat strikes demanding better wages, against racist bosses and the repeal of unjust and racist laws like the Master and Servants Ordinance and the Industrial Conciliation Act. These strikes forced the state to pass new laws like the Minimum Wages Act and Employment Act resulting in big increases in minimum wages, the repeal of most of the racist and oppressive colonial labour laws and legal recognition to workers committees. Since then Workers Committees have played an important part in workers struggles .In many cases where trade unions are weak or have sold out , it is workers committees that have initiated and led strikes like the powerful strikes by Standard Charted bank workers , Nutresco workers and by construction workers in 1999.In unions like printing and Dairiboard, workers committees mobilised workers to boot out corrupt and cowardly leaders and started to re-build their unions. But is has not been rosy. Bosses have infiltrated many workers committees, bribing their members or dubiously promoting members, so that they sell out workers or splinter unions. On the other hand militant members of workers committees have been victimised, transferred, demoted or dismissed as happened in many places. To build strong workers committees three things are necessary that is: a) The committee must be democratic , always ensuring that before agreeing to any decision with the bosses they have called a general meeting to get workers’ approval .the Chairperson or any member of the committee should not meet bosses alone ; The workers committee must mobilise workers to join and actively participate in the trade union to make it stronger, democratic and militant. Workers committees must continuously improve their knowledge of the law and history of the working class, the political economy of capitalism and how to fight it. Workers must have copies of and study the Labour Act and their code of conduct.

c)

b)

c)

In the next issue we look at other rights of workers Committees.
Mpwuz mobilises full solidarity for victimised St Anne‘s Nurses including full legal support

Let’s look at some of the most important rights of Workers Committees under the Act. Section 25A- The Right to be consulted before any major decision by the employer

Volume 1 of 2010 page 2

Key resolutions made by the MPAWUZ General members meeting held on the 5th December 2009 at Horizon INN ( Harare )
The General Secretary outlined the history of the union and why it is vital for the resuscitation of the union now considering a of myriad of problems currently being faced by workers in their respective institutions .He stated that employers are taking advantage of the absence of an NEC and a strong united Trade Union to victimise workers .He reported that some employers are unyieldingly attempting to refrain their employees from joining the union realising the potential it has. He further reported that the union has so far written a courtesy letter to the Ministry of labour care of the Registrar of Trade Unions familiarising the union and as well informing them that we have engaged the Employers organisation to initiate the process of registering the NEC. He told the house that arrangements are currently underway with the Zimbabwe labour centre such that next year 2009 they will assist us by training some of our members some basic knowledge on labour regulations . Here are key resolutions made by the meeting a) The issue of the NEC is very important hence we cannot afford to keep on delaying the process as people are already waiting for it. The meeting resolved that we shall not go beyond end of January 2010 before we sit down with employers to start registration or else we seek the Minister‘s intervention to speed up the process. It’s high time the union should start representing its members in settling some disputes at company levels . We should take a hard-line stance on those employers deliberately sabotaging us by not deducting members subscriptions otherwise our activities shall be crippled. Recruitment remains our priority until February 2010 hence we should maximise our recruitment drive so that we have more members by the time we register NEC to avert any possibilities of opposition from other interested NECs currently purporting to represent our industry. In that respect it was agreed to split our Union into six distinct sectors each with a steering committee that will be responsible for recruiting in their sector . Here are the sectors indentified and comrades seconded to the committees 1) Hospitals and Clinics Kuvenga (Suburban ) Committee member Chones Baines Avenue 2) Laboratories Chair Malvern Musarurwa ( Clinical labs ) to fill in the committee later 3) Medical AID societies Chair Ndiweni ( PSMAS) , Vice Chair Mtamuzeli ( CIMAS) , Secretary ( Manatse ( EMF) 4) Ambulances Chair Munyaradzi Maregedze ( MARS) to fill in the committee later 5) Imaging Chair Pamela Ndangara ( PSMI Imaging ) committee to be filled in later 6) Pharmacies to be done later

b)

Chitungwiza so far was considered a region therefore we shall have one committee that will be responsible for recruiting in Chitungwiza across all sectors.

c)

St Anne’s Workers say No to Victimisation
Medical Buzz salutes St Annes hospital employees for their buoyancy as they face interminable attacks from their bosses who have been resisting to effect a salary increase for some time .Bosses went too far by victimising nurses who had exercised their right to strike and reject peanuts. Workers should not be demoralised though because that is the only language bosses can understand .Workplace based strikes are not as effective as industry wide strikes hence there is need for workers to unite under one union and one NEC so that wage negotiations are done on an industrial level and action is taken across the whole industry to avoid victimisation .We urge St Annes hospital workers to come and join in MPAWUZ so they be part of a pool of other fighting medical workers.Our strength is in numbers so united we win . Mpawuz is ready to assist all victimised workers regardless of your membership status
Volume 1 of 2010 page 3

d)

Chair Chifamba(Avenues Clinic) Vice Chair Chiremba (WESTEND) Secretary Marufu ( Suburban and Vice Sec

The Medical Buzz
Voice of the MedicalProfessional and Allied Workers Union volume Volume 1 of 2010

The fight for a living wage
The CENTRAL STATISTICAL OFFICE estimates that a worker needs a net pay of US$660 a month to live decently with his/her family. This is the breadbasket in Zimbabwe now. Bosses across many sectors are not paying this much and the survey made by The Medical Buzz in the medical field reflected that many workers are earning in the region of US$150-US$220. It is of extreme importance that workers understand the issue of wages because it goes to the heart of why bosses are rich and powerful and workers poor and oppressed. Some great economists stated that “the average rate of wages is equal to the sum of necessities sufficient to keep up the race of workmen in a certain country according to the standard of life habitual in that country. That standard of life maybe very different for different classes of workmen” In other words, in the ideal world, wages should at the minimum be equal to the bread basket, or the cost of goods and services necessary to keep a worker and his or her family alive at what a worker sees as a decent standard, plus the cost of training that particular skill of worker. This is a living wage. Workers normally produce wealth equal to this wage and the cost of raw materials and equipment used, in only a small portion of the working period, say half of the working week. What is produced after that is extra wealth, or surplus value .However bosses take all this new wealth, even if it has been produced by workers sweat. Overtime this accumulates and makes them richer and richer, using that wealth to buy control over the society at large. Meanwhile , the worker remains where she /he was before at best just adding a few items of personal property like a radio, TV , bicycle but remain workers who have to work for bosses to survive. In most cases vana vanoramba vachirara pasi sembambaira. But in practise, wages like other commodities, are determined through bargaining between workers and bosses in the market and will therefore depend on the relative bargaining power of each party. Wages are in fact elastic, moving between two levels that is an absolute minimum where no human being would be able to survive on, say US80 a month today and a maximum level, where it would almost end up threatening the bosses’ profits. A living wage is somewhere in between these two. To increase profits bosses always push wages down as much as possible close to the absolute minimum .For instance trying to force workers to accept a lower standard of life than they had got used to , like families living in a one room or surviving on one meal a day or indirectly through overtime or increasing productivity through technology. On the other hand workers strive to archive at least a minimum wage. So there is a constant struggle between the two. But the struggle is not a fair one .the individual worker needs a job to survive otherwise s/he will starve or become destitute. Also employed workers are always in competition with the unemployed workers who are ready to do the work for a lower wage. Workers can only improve their bargaining power by forming trade unions and using them to effect or threaten actions that hurt the bosses where it pains the most ie the point of production. The state of the economy also matters. Where the economy is growing, minimum pressure even at company level, can push wages up , as unemployment would be lower and profits higher, whilst during economic crisis , bosses resist much and will require harder pressure .Thus where workers have united , democratic and militant unions , in which leaders are accountable to the rank and file , the greater their ability to get wages closer or even above the living wage, even in times of economic turmoil . So join the union now and be part of a generation fighting to end starvation wages . Shinga Mushandi Shinga !!!!

We continue with a similar discussion in the next issue …..

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