Doctors welcome new offers, say not enough
Harare, (New Ziana) – Striking doctors on Friday welcomed separate initiatives by government and a local philanthropist to bring them back to work, but said these did not go far enough to address their long term pay concerns.
The doctors downed tools nearly three months ago demanding pay set in United States dollar but paid in local currency on the ruling rate of the day, something the government dismissed as untenable.
The government later fired most of the striking doctors after the court
ruled their strike illegal, and said it would consider to re-employ only
those who re-applied.
Both sides dug in, prompting the Catholic Church to mediate on Thursday,
after which the government scrapped its re-application condition if the
doctors returned to work within two days.
In the meantime, telecommunications businessman Strive Masiyiwa offered
$100 million in top-up salaries for the striking doctors for the next six
months in another attempt to break the impasse.
But the doctors, who also complained of poor working conditions in public
hospitals, said the new initiatives by the government and Masiyiwa, while
welcome, did not address their long term concerns of a sustainable salary.
In particular, the doctors said the initiatives are not accompanied by a
new improved pay offer from government, which they were expecting.
“As such it was concluded that, in as much as the support from HLF
(Masiyiway’s philanthropic foundation) is welcome, it does not address
completely the demands of the doctors for a salary whose value is preserved
despite soaring inflation as well as provision of adequate and appropriate
tools of the trade,” the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA), which represents the striking junior doctors, said.
“The stipulated time frames and terms and conditions surrounding the
offer do not make it a viable long lasting solution that doctors are
in search of at the moment,” it said.
Commenting on the moratorium, the ZHDA said: “Should this moratorium lapse without the formal communication of an offer that is reasonable, it would stand as yet another gracious privilege that is lost.”