Doctors accuse govt of dishonesty; Say they will continue striking until demands are met

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THE Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) has accused government of being insincere in addressing their grievances and vowed to continue a job action that has paralysed the public health system.

The doctors, who have been striking for nearly 20 days, said their employer is not committed to resolving the sticking issues and vowed to continue with the industrial action until their all demands have been met.

“We met government negotiators on the 15th of March and they showed up three hours late for the meeting,” the doctors said in a statement Saturday.

“They misrepresented minutes of the last meeting (06 March) omitting demands raised by the ZHDA and we refused to pass them as accurate.

“Government negotiators went on to claims that doctors work 72 hours on call per month. This was refuted by the ZHDA using a circular issued by the secretary for health which stated that we work 160 hours on call per month.

“The government team insisted that they were paying $5 per hour, which was proven to be inaccurate, a fabrication and complete misrepresentation.

“The doctors asked government to get their facts right and not negotiate in bad faith like they have always done since 2014. The meeting reached deadlock and was postponed to 16 March.

“Government negotiators showed up two hours late in this Friday’s meeting and they had not bothered to rectify the misrepresentations highlighted in the previous meeting.

“We will only return to work when all issues raised by ZHDA have been fully resolved.”

The doctors’ basic salary is $330 but goes up to $820 including allowances.

They are demanding that government provides adequate hospital stocks particularly for treatment of the under-fives and over 65s who are exempted from paying for healthcare.

Another demand is the upward review of on-call and rural allowances as well as the implementation of a duty-free facility for doctors importing cars.