The Sunday Mail
Government has committed to ensuring that medical doctors’ concerns are ironed out through formal negotiations, a Cabinet minister has said.
Last week, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) wrote to Government demanding salary increments.
ZHDA threatened industrial action if Government does not respond to their grievances in three weeks.
Speaking to The Sunday Mail yesterday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said Government will ensure that the health professionals’ concerns are looked into.
“Negotiations will start soon. I need to confirm the date, but it’s soon. They are going to be done through the NJNC (National Joint Negotiations Council), together with the Health Services Board,” said Dr Nzenza.
“A strike will be a last resort. We will negotiate with doctors and I am confident we will come up with a resolution. The Tripartite Negotiating Forum brings unions, Government and business together to discuss economic issues affecting the workers.”
The doctors are arguing that due to the rising cost of living, they are now financially incapacitated.
In their letter addressed to the Health Services Board chairperson, Dr Paulinus Sikhosana, ZHDA said the doctors’ living conditions are now a cause for concern.
Read the letter in part: “We request that the employer adjust our earnings according to the inter-market bank rate, which currently sits at 8,7 to the United States dollar.
“We hereby give notice of total incapacitation with immediate effect, giving the employer a grace period of three weeks upon receipt of this letter to present practical solutions to our financial cries.”
Speaking to The Sunday mail yesterday, ZHDA acting president Dr Peter Magombeyi said Government was yet to communicate with them.
“Government is yet to formally respond to our statement. I am unable to reveal to the media just yet what our next move will be, but we will keep you updated,” he said.
Last month, Government awarded a cushioning allowance of 50 percent of all health workers’ pensionable salaries in order to ease their economic woes.
Government has also kept its promise in terms of keeping public hospitals well equipped and with adequate medicine.
Last month, India donated a consignment of essential medicines worth US$250 000.
Through President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s engagement efforts, the United Arab Emirates also recently donated US$2 million worth of surgical sundries and equipment.
In the last two months, the availability of essential medicines in the public health institutions has increased from 52 percent to 65 percent.