RNMU leaders have adopted on 11th August 2017 five important resolutions in a quest to strengthen the Union functions especially the mandate of conducting advocacy, after a two day leadership training in Muhanga district, Southern Province.

 The motion was approved by recently elected leaders at District Executive Bureaus (DEB), Referral Hospital Executive Bureaus (RHEB), Educators Chapter and National Executive Bureau, who attended the training.

 It was adopted that functioning district offices will be established within four next years  and a  strategic plan for DEB,RHEB, Chapters and national level being enacted by December 2018.

Furthermore, a technical team to draw propositions on horizontal promotion, professional risk law being drafted and new structure in health sector was designated. The team has a task of formulating petitions highlighting the Union stand to forward to competent institutions.

As a glimpse of what the team will work on, the session agreed that nurses and midwives are not receiving benefits as per current horizontal promotion policy provided for by the law. There are professional risks in nursing and midwifery that are not specified in occupational hazards law, as well as the news structure in health that doesn’t reflect the education level appropriately.

“Nurses and midwives in health centers are treated differently than those in hospitals. The new structure doesn’t provide a merit statute for nurses and midwives with bachelor’s level of education. Instead it favourites those with A2,” said Pepetue Mbabazi, RNMU Vice president.

This means that nurses and midwives’ effort to raise their education level from A2 is not rewarded as per current statute, thus a fear of stagnant education.

“The new structure shall be looking at the incentives of raising the levels of education for practitioners from A2 to A0,” RNNMU president Andre Gitembagara, stressed.

Also in the new structure, a deficient of nurses and midwives expected at the health centers compared to those in hospitals is noticed while there is a net discrepancy of salary benefits between nurses and midwives with a same level of education but working for different health facilities.

It was also adopted for RNMU to develop a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) plan for identified professional skills gaps to be distributed to all health facilities as well as urging the National Council of Nurses and Midwives and the Ministry of Heath to request hospitals to develop CPDs for their personnel. 

The training focused on the pension, occupational hazard, medical and maternity leave benefits schemes, labour conflict management, the continuing professional development for nurses and midwives and the role of trade Unions in SDGs implementation.

Topics discussed included pension and occupational hazards benefits offered by the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB).

It was also talked about trade Union priorities in the SDGs implementation and how can trade Unions engage in the SDG process.

Jean De Dieu Bagirihirwe of CESTRAR said that Trade Unions are focusing their advocacy and partnership efforts on seven indicators of the SDGs considered as priorities: They are no poverty, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, reduce inequality, climate action and peace justice and strong institutions.

Bagirihirwe reminded that Unionists are requested to ask national governments to consult Trade Unions in 2030 Agenda planning and implementation, thus bringing Trade Unions on board.