MINISTER of Health Dr Joseph Kasonde yesterday appealed to striking nurses at Livingstone General Hospital to immediately return to work.
And Dr Kasonde says representatives of the civil servants union would meet with a team he had constituted to go through the issues the nurses were aggrieved about and reach a suitable conclusion.
The minister also said today's discussion would determine whether the strike was legal or illegal.
On Friday, nurses at Livingstone General Hospital went on strike rejecting the 4 per cent salary increment which was awarded to them during the last round of negotiations between the government and the union.
The nurses have also rejected the proposed two-year wage freeze and retirement age change from 55 years to 65.
Dr Kasonde at a press briefing yesterday said nurses were essential workers who had a responsibility to protect people's lives and urged them to return to work.
He said the government had noted that the wage freeze and the retirement change were both part of the budget currently in Parliament.
"Therefore, it would not be appropriate for anybody to begin to take positions on a matter which has been submitted to Parliament and which is the prerogative of parliament to decide upon," he said.
Dr Kasonde said the government also noted that the 4 per cent increment referred to was the subject of discussion in important exchanges of consultation last year and that it affected the nurses in the context of other percentages and allowances that were adjusted and reported to Parliament in the ministerial statement recently.
Meanwhile, Livingstone health workers in clinics have joined their colleagues at the General Hospital in work stoppage demanding for the harmonisation of public service workers salaries.
The work stoppage which started with the Livingstone General Hospital on Friday had by yesterday (Saturday) spread to the clinics incompounds forcing the district medical office to use all healthworkers who are in administrative ranks to attend to patients atclinics.
A check at the Livingstone General Hospital revealed that student nurses were managing all wards.