INTRODUCTION: The Zimbabwe government's threat of harsh action against striking nurses and teachers produced a return to work by some teachers, but nurses continued their strike for higher wages.
SALISBURY, ZIMBABWE (VISNEWS - CHRIS EVERSON)
GV Stand-in military ambulances outside Harare hospital. (2 SHOTS)
GV Nurses milling around and seated under trees. (6 SHOTS)
GV PAN Police trucks
GV & SV Teachers gathered in Cecil Square holding placards. (3 SHOTS)
SV Mr. Paul Caplan addressing crowd of striking teachers. (4 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Zimbabwe government's threat of harsh action against striking nurses and teachers produced a return to work by some teachers, but nurses continued their strike for higher wages. Minister of Education Dr. Dzinga Mutumbuka warned that those teachers who stayed out on strike would be dismissed and white teachers would be deported.
SYNOPSIS: Nurses gathered outside Harare hospital in Salisbury to re-affirm their demands for a 200 per cent wage increase. Most hospitals were kept running by Red Cross and army nurses. Military ambulances were standing-by. A small hospital in Umtali was forced to close. Prime Minister Robert Mugabe has described the striking nurses and teachers as people who had not experienced the hardships of the liberation struggle. He threatened to have them arrested and sent to rural areas for three months. He pointed out that neither group had heeded calls for industrial action against the former white administration, and described the strikers as counter-revolutionaries.
Nurses in Fort Victoria were arrested and charged with unlawful assembly. Several expatriates were reportedly arrested in Gatooma, 120 miles south of Salisbury, and a British teacher was charged with inciting others to strike.
Teachers in Salisbury, who have led the national demand for salary increases, met in Cecil Square after work in the morning. They said they would suspend their strike for a week. They agreed to walk out again after that time, if Mr. Mutumbuka did not meet a delegation of teachers during that period and unless some progress was made towards meeting their demands. Most teachers had returned to their classrooms, but 80 who stayed out on strike were dismissed. Mr. Mutumbuka toured secondary schools in Salisbury and warned expatriate teachers that they would be deported if they struck in sympathy with their black colleagues. The striking teachers were addressed at their meeting by Mr. Paul Caplan, who quoted the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front's (ZANU-PF) election manifesto, which guaranteed 13 fundamental rights and freedoms, including that of the right to strike. These strikes are the first major industrial unrest since Zimbabwe became independent.