Zimbabwe: 500 Junior Doctors and Radiographers Continue Strike Despite Court Ruling

Zimbabwe doctors on strike.
24 December 2018

Striking junior doctors and radiographers working in public hospitals have vowed to continue with the job action despite threats by their employer and an adverse weekend court ruling.

Following an application by the Health Services Board (HSB), the labour court declared the strike illegal at the weekend.

Labour Court judge Betty Chidziva ruled in favour of the HSB, which hires doctors.

The court ruled that doctors offer an "essential service" and cannot, therefore, engage in collective job action.

Unimpressed the doctors immediately accused the HSB of negotiating in bad faith.

"HSB has negated and reversed all the progress thus made to terminate the industrial action," said Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) in a statement.

"To the best of our knowledge, a communication was made to Vice President Dr CGDN Chiwenga regarding the grievances raised by doctors and hence we are still waiting in anticipation for the response before any further deliberations are conducted.

"To this effect, we are suspending all negotiations with HSB and Ministry of Health until such a time that an honest, comprehensive and satisfactory offer has been proffered through the Bipartite Negotiation Panel (BNP).

"It is indeed shocking that in this day and age, HSB expects doctors to report for duty without a salary and further wishes to conduct disciplinary proceedings on all members who had engaged on the industrial action."

The HSB has, meanwhile, warned that the doctors risk disciplinary action if they continue to defy the court order.

"Most or all of the health workers who had withdrawn their labour have not reported for work in the timeframe stipulated in the disposal order made by the Labour Court," said HSB vice chairperson Professor Auxilia Chideme-Munodawafa.

"Government is accordingly proceeding to institute disciplinary action against all health workers who participated in the unlawful collective job action."

The doctors went on strike nearly a month ago, demanding salaries in US dollars as well as improvement of working conditions and the supply of medicines in hospitals.

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