26 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Pay us in U.S. Dollars, or We Strike - Doctors Tell Govt

MEDICAL practitioners have threatened to down tools if government fails to review their salaries to tally with the increasing inflation rates and devaluation of bond notes.

The bond notes surrogate currency, which introduced last November to ease cash shortages,

has collapsed against the US dollar by over 50 percent sparking panic in the economy.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) fears the currency crisis will result in shortages of basic medications, poor employee morale and ultimately demonstrations.

"ZADHR is deeply concerned that the plummeting of the surrogate currency, which has seen it lose value by almost one hundred percent in twenty-four hours, will be an affront to accessing basic health care services by ordinary Zimbabweans," the association said.

"ZADHR advises the RBZ governor to own up to his self-inflicted currency crisis and also to give due consideration to the healthcare of all Zimbabweans by prioritizing foreign currency allocation to the health sector as he normally does to the excess state travel of the bloated executive."

About a month ago, the Zimbabwe Medical Association warned of looming drug shortages owing to inadequate foreign currency allocations by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Drug shortages

According to the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, government should urgently review the payment mode for health workers claiming the sectors salaries value has already plummeted by 100 percent to around $350.

"... we have established that doctors who are on the government payroll will not be able to continue to discharge their duties on this paltry salary scale if the employer refuses to remunerate them in either US dollars or inflation adjusted salaries currency with effect from the 1st of October 2017," said the body in a statement on Sunday.

"We urge the government to address this issue with the urgency it deserves so as to avert the possible nationwide strike whose consequences will be devastating."

The association, which represents over 300 doctors serving government nationally, was amongst the first labour unions to advise central bank governor John Mangudya against introducing the bond notes raising fears that the salaries of their members will tumble to economic forces.

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