Harare(New Ziana)-The government has so far fired at least 286 striking junior doctors after being found guilty of taking part in an illegal strike, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said on Tuesday.
Addressing a post Cabinet media briefing, Mutsvangwa said a total of 322 disciplinary cases of the doctors had so far been heard.
“A total of 322 disciplinary cases have so far been heard and the 286 doctors were found guilty and have been discharged.
“A further 93 doctors from central hospitals and 55 from provincial hospitals will have their disciplinary hearings conducted by 15th November and 22nd November 2019 respectively,” she said.
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-equipment and provision 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 improving the doctors’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.
Mutsvangwa said government remained committed to dialogue with the striking doctors with a meeting set for Thursday.
“Government is working flat out to ensure availability of resources in the health institutions as well as improve the conditions of service for all health personnel.
“In particular, the provision of institutional accommodation is being pursued in order to alleviate the challenges that affect service delivery in the short, medium to long term,” said Mutsvangwa.
Meanwhile, Cabinet also heard that Harare City Council nurses were on strike.
“The situation at the municipal clinics remains constrained as only 35 out of the expected 104 nurses turned up for duty at the five polyclinics and one hospital .
“The nurses had withdrawn their labour over delayed salary payments, are refusing to resume duty even after receiving their salaries,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said disciplinary proceedings would be instituted on the striking nurses.
“As such therefore, only those nurses reporting for duty will be paid while their conditions of service are being looked into,” she said.