Junior doctors reject ED 48hr offer

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By Paidashe Mandivengerei

SACKED junior doctors Friday scoffed at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 48 hour ultimatum for them to return to work without question.

While appreciating the work done by Roman Catholic Bishops, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said without a new offer, Mnangagwa’s ultimatum presented as an olive leaf to end the three month old impasse was meaningless.

“We appreciate the role played by the Catholic bishops which has resulted in the doctors being issued a moratorium, valid for the next 48hrs. Sadly the moratorium has come without a new offer on the table having been communicated to us.

“Should this moratorium lapse with out the formal communication of an offer that is reasonable, it would stand as yet another gracious privilege that is lost,” a statement from the ZHDA read in part.

Junior doctors have been on strike for the past three months demanding a review of the working conditions, salaries and allowances at the going interbank currency rate. The strike was declared illegal by the Labour Court giving the Health Services Board power to institute disciplinary proceedings against the medical practitioners.

Over 500 doctors were charged with 448 already discharged for absenting themselves from work without reason. However the ZHDA has maintained its stance demanding that government deals with its members’ issues.

After meeting Roman Catholic clerics at State House on Thursday, Mnangagwa issued a two day moratorium for the doctors to return to their work stations without any conditions.

Previously government had stated that the fired doctors should reapply if they are to be reinstated.

The junior doctors have also rejected a 100% salary and allowances increment from government demanding that these be pegged at the interbank rate between the local currency and the US dollar.

The impasse has turned the country’s health institutions into death traps.