Govt fires 211 striking doctors

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By Thandiwe Garusa

GOVERNMENT has fired 211 public service doctors who have failed to report for duty following a strike over poor wages and working conditions.

On Tuesday, government fired 77 doctors after they ignored its pleas and a Labour Court ruling ordering to end what it declared an illegal strike.

In a statement released on Friday, the Health Services Board said that these doctors were guilty of not coming to work for no reason.

“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. Three (3) doctors appeared in person before the disciplinary tribunals and two (2) doctors had their determinations reserved pending verification of their cases,” reads the statement.

“Cognisant of the need for continuous dialogue with its employees, on 10 October 2019, the Health Service Board met with both the Senior and Junior doctors. On 29 October 2019, the HSB again met the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) in the presence of the Executive Director for the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) where the ZHDA presented a position paper.

“Again, the ZHDA demanded the pegging of their salaries to the prevailing inter-bank rate as a precondition for their return to work.

“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.”

Doctors have been on strike for more than two months and have vowed not to go back to work without a salary review that is consistent with their demands.