GOVERNMENT Friday gave in to most of the demands by striking doctors including backing down on threats that leaders of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) who led the job action will face disciplinary action.
This was agreed at a Health Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel (HSBNP) meeting during which a memorandum of understating was signed by Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals chief executive officer, Thomas Zigora, representing Government, and P Chivese (doctors) and B Chimbunde chairperson (HSBNP).
The doctors downed their tools two weeks ago followed by nurses calling for improved working conditions. The strike, joined by nurses this week, paralysed operations in most hospitals countrywide with departments going closed throughout the period.
Government later threatened the striking doctors ordering them to call off the strike and report to work to no avail and ended up deploying army health personnel.
Among other things agreed upon during the meeting was that “call allowances be increased from the current $288 to 360 per month with effect from the 1st April and this will be reviewed when the fiscal situation improves.”
Also agreed upon was that “The night duty call allowance would go up from the current $50 per set to $65 on a sliding scale to $91 per set” while “250 posts have been created with effect from the 1st March and 2000 posts have been created for nurses with effect from the 1st April on staggering basis.”
The Duty Free Vehicle Import Scheme which was also part of the striking doctor’s demands has been replaced by Employer Assisted Car Loan Scheme.
The meeting also agreed to look at ways of compensating nurses in management who are not getting night duty allowances but carrying additional responsibilities.
“While noting that in calling for the strike, procedures were not followed, the meeting agreed that the leadership of workers will not face disciplinary action.
“The principal of no work no pay be upheld through ones forfeiture of vacation leave days in lieu of days not worked,” said the agreement.
The meeting also agreed that quarterly meetings should be held to look at conditions of service issues.
In a statement Friday, the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) blasted the government and striking doctors and nurses for lacking human compassion. The group also blamed health minister David Parirenyatwa for the chaos.