Doctors have refused to return to work after the government increased their allowances by a paltry $360.
The junior doctors went on strike a fortnight ago after the government announced that it was increasing their salaries by less than 70%.
Dean Ndoro, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) vice-president, on Friday said they were pressing on with their job boycott until their grievances were addressed.
“As long as we are incapacitated to carry out our duty we will not report for work. It is government’s mandate to make sure that as part of the essential services we are in much capacity to do our work,” he said.
On Thursday, ZDHA representatives stormed out of a health services bipartite negotiation panel meeting organised by the Health Services Board (HSB) after their employer indicated it was only able to increase their allowances by $360.
“Our members did not have much patience in waiting to hear the outcome of the meeting. Once the government was negotiating for the 30% increment, they felt that it is an insult to us,” Ndoro added.
“We are seeking to actually exit from this Apex and engage the employer on a separate platform because we think we are being ill-represented by this panel.”
Health minister Obadiah Moyo recently said government was considering placing doctors on the essential services list comprising of police, prison services and the army.
This would see the health practitioners only being allowed to picket at their employer’s offices for a few hours without embarking on full-blown strike action.
Moyo said the Health Services Amendment Bill was an effort to rein in the “unprofessional” and “irresponsible” behaviour of the doctors.
“The Bill will ensure that while in collective bargaining, job action will not be an indefinite exercise as it will endanger patients’ lives,”
However, the ZHDA has described the proposed law as unconstitutional and vowed to challenge it.
— The Standard