Suspended striking doctors snub disciplinary hearings

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HARARE: Striking junior medical doctors who were scheduled to appear before disciplinary hearings at their respective workplaces on Friday have disregarded the process, insisting they will turn up only once their demands have been addressed.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) secretary general Mthabisi Bhebhe told African News Agency (ANA) that despite calls for them to appear before the hearing they remained resolute, as their employer was failing to address critical issues.

“None of our members attended the hearings [on Friday]. They were all in the comfort of their homes because they are on industrial action. They cannot go to work when their issues are not met.

“The problem is that the government is failing to attend to our most critical demands, which range from improved working conditions where we need adequate supplies of medication,” he said.

“We need our salaries to be paid in United States dollars and until that has been addressed you will not see us at work. We demand that the health and child care ministry pays our salaries in full and in foreign currency.”

Contrary to state media reports that the doctors had met President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia and committed to going back to work, Bhebhe said it was a “lie”.

“We have seen state media reports which are insinuating that the doctors will go back to work after meeting the first lady. That is all lies. Of course, some of our members met the first lady, but there was no consensus. The position remains the same. We are not going back to work.

“The first lady promised to take our grievances to the relevant authorities because information was being distorted, so we will see how it goes,” he said.