Harare(New Ziana)-The Zimbabwe government has so far fired at least 211 junior doctors after they were found guilty of absenting themselves from duty for more than five days due to a strike, the Health Services Board (HSB) said on Friday.
In a statement, the HSB said a total of 279 doctors underwent disciplinary hearings related to the strike, which has been going on for more than 60 days now.
“In line with section 4 of the Labour Act (National Employment Code of Conduct), the disciplinary hearings continue, whereby 516 out of 1 601 medical doctors employed in the public sector are expected to appear before the disciplinary tribunals.
“To date, 279 doctors have been served with charge letters, 213 hearings completed and 211 doctors found guilty of absenting themselves from duty without leave or reasonable cause for days ranging from five or more.
“The 211 doctors found guilty have been discharged from the health service,” said the board.
The HSB said so far, three doctors appeared in person before the disciplinary tribunals and two had determinations reserved pending verification of their cases.
Junior doctors have embarked on industrial action on numerous occasions in recent years, protesting against poor working conditions among other things.
Their union, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZDHA), on September 3 this year, declared that its members were incapacitated to continue going to work, demanding a review of allowances as well as capacitation of health institutions through re-equipping and acquisition of necessary sundries.
The doctors have demanded the pegging of their salaries to the prevailing interbank rate as a precondition for their return to work.
While committing to improve their welfare as well and working conditions, the government has said their demands for interbank rated salaries were not sustainable as it was faced with various other competing demands, including payment of an annual bonus to civil servants.