Private healthcare provider Premier Services Medical Investments (PSMI), which is a subsidiary of Premier Services Medical Society (PSMAS), has reportedly closed its 153 clinics across the country after its employees withdrew their labour citing incapacitation.
PSMI Employee Works Committee chairman Munyaradzi Nharaunda told NewsDay that their employer has refused to pay their outstanding salaries. He said:
Yes, we have downed tools nationwide. The workers were willing to engage, but the employer was not.
The last we engaged them, they said they didn’t have anything. We can get back if they engage us and tell us when they will pay us.
PSMI workers are owed November and December salaries as well as outstanding allowances dating back to July.
Last week on Wednesday, Nharaunda wrote a letter to PSMI acting managing director Farai George Kutoka, saying the money paid to workers was not enough to meet their basic needs. The letter reads in part:
Even though we appreciate the paltry $333 000 offered last week, schools will be reopening on January 9 and as parents, we are expected to have paid in full and made all other necessary provisions.
We hope for a swift and long-lasting solution to addressing these challenges as we are willing and more than ready to offer our labour and professional service.
PSMI chairman Wellington Tutisa told NewsDay that efforts were being made to seek the government’s support to clear the salary arrears.
The closure of PSMI clinics is a major setback for civil servants as the healthcare facilities were built to mainly serve them.
In November 2022, the government extended a bail-out package of more than ZW$4 billion to PSMAS and PSMI o help restore the company’s operational viability.
The Secretary to the Service Commissions, Rosemary Tsitsi Choruma, said the funds will be used to clear salary arrears for PSMI staff as well as enable the medical insurance company to reopen healthcare facilities that had closed down.