A nurses' union in Zimbabwe has reportedly told Vice President Constantino Chiwenga to "go hang" after he summarily fired more than 15 000 striking health workers this week over what he called a "politically motivated" industrial action.
At least 16 000 nurses were sacked in a terse statement issued on Tuesday by Chiwenga, who accused the strikers of being "politically motivated," according to an AFP report.
Chiwenga described the nurses' strike as "deplorable and reprehensible", as the government had released $17 million to boost their pay and allowances.
The privately owned NewsDay newspaper reported that a breakdown in relations between the union and government may have been influenced by speculation that former president Robert Mugabe was patron of the Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (Zina).
But according to Zina, Mugabe had stopped being the union’s patron after being removed from power last year.
Zina president Simangaliso Mafa, said government was bringing in unnecessary politics into a labour dispute.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, Chiwenga has been having more influence in government and was regarded as defacto president after he had made a few top decisions that included the sacking of top police officials.