Negotiations meant to end the nearly 2-week-long strike by junior doctors have suffered a blow after hitches in the payment of the doctors’ December salaries.
The junior doctors were supposed to resume normal duties soon after Friday’s bipartite negotiations, pending more dialogue with their employer, but it is no longer the case after they were apparently struck off the payroll.
Friday’s negotiations had provided a breakthrough to end junior doctors’ industrial action and restore normalcy in the country’s public hospitals.
There has however been no progress since then with the junior doctors alleging their employer; the government, has struck them off the payroll.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) Secretary General, Dr Anele Mthabisi Bhebhe alleged that their accounts were credited with what seemed to be slashed salaries for December but two hours later, the transactions were reversed.
A letter dated 14 December 2018 and signed by the Acting Permanent Secretary for Health and Child Care, Dr Robert Mudyiradima indicated that the salaries confusion was caused by some excess deductions on the employees’ pay as you earn (PAYE), adding that the deductions have since been reversed and the monies will be credited into the affected members’ accounts.
However, Health Services Board (HSB) Chairperson, Dr Paulinas Sikhosana told the ZBC News that the doctors who had withdrawn their services are already off the payroll after their industrial action had gone for over 14 days.
The doctors’ strike started on the 1st of December and according to current health sector regulations, any health worker who fails to report for duty for 14 consecutive days is struck off the payroll.