Doctors strike: Aluta continua despite Masiyiwa offer

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By Paidashe Mandivengerei

SACKED junior doctors on Thursday vowed to press on with their job action despite business mogul, Strive Masiyiwa’s offer to recruit 2000 medical practitioners on behalf of government.

The junior doctors, in internal communication seen by, said although Masiyiwa’s offer is welcome, it was too ad hoc to be relied on.

This comes after Masiyiwa, through his Higher Life Foundation (HLF), said he would provide junior and senior doctors with $5 000 each, phones and transport to work for half a year.

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) however said its members will only apply for Higher Life Foundation’s fellowship on condition that government addresses their grievances.

“We welcome the aid of Higher Life Foundation. However, let’s not forget what brought us to the trenches in the first place.

“The need for a living wage from our employer and the need for a long lasting solution to these perennial battles,” read the circular to members.

The medical professionals downed tools three months ago demanding a review of their working conditions as well as salaries and allowances pegged at the prevailing interbank US dollar rates.

The industrial action was declared illegal by the Labour Court in October giving government the latitude to institute disciplinary proceedings against over 500 doctors.

Since then, 448 have been fired for absenting themselves from work without reason.

The circular added that the doctors will continue with the strike as long as government did not address their concerns.

“HLF will not serve as a solution to our impasse. We will take up the offer once our impasse with our employer has been resolved. For the record, the HLF is for all doctors in government institutions and not only for interns. Also we can’ t go back to work when more than 50% of our income is donor funded and only for six months.

“What will happen after the six months? We say no to reapplying! We will return to work on condition of proper remuneration and no disciplinary action against our members,” reads the memo.

Meanwhile, the Health Services Board has started handing out letters to medical specialists summoning them for disciplinary hearings.