Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Striking doctors snub disciplinary hearings

By Everson Mushava

Striking doctors have stuck to their guns, snubbing disciplinary hearings called by the Health Services Board, saying they were still financially incapacitated to attend the hearings.

doctors strike
Doctors sing and hold placards during a march through central Harare demanding the return of their union leader who was abducted on Saturday night (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

In a letter to Health Services Board chairman Paulinas Sikhosana yesterday, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association said: “This serves to inform you that the incapacitated doctors nationwide will not be able to attend the disciplinary hearings and any threats should stop forthwith to pave way for dialogue, provided an offer is made at the interbank rate.”

Doctors downed tools more than 50 days ago citing incapacitation and indicated they would only resume their duties after government has acceded to their demand for United States dollar-interbank rated salaries.

But government has shot down the doctors’ demands, fearing that it could open floodgates for other government workers to clamour for huge salary adjustments to cushion themselves against inflationary pressures.

Government recently took the doctors to court, which ruled that the strike was illegal and ordered them to return to work within 48 hours.

The doctors, however, refused to honour the court ruling, claiming they were not on strike, but incapacitated.

Government then threatened disciplinary action against the doctors, accusing them of refusing to obey a court ruling.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week claimed there was a third force behind the doctors’ strike, a statement dismissed by the medical practitioners.

The doctors yesterday said: “We believe we have not committed any misconduct by demanding a fair living wage.” NewsDay