THE strike by state doctors and nurses over poor remuneration and conditions of service continued throughout the country this week despite government’s claims that the two parties had reached an agreement that will see medical professional back at work.
Doctors and nurses went on strike last week demanding to be paid in foreign currency and better working conditions.
Health deputy minister Edwin Muguti yesterday said the government and the health professionals had agreed to a “handsome” package that would seem them return to work.
“We are through with the new salaries and we have also hiked their allowances,” Muguti said. “That is all I can reveal to you at the moment.”
However, the Hospitals Doctors Association (HDA) yesterday denied that they had reached an agreement with the government and vowed that the doctors and nurses would remain on strike until their salaries are pegged in foreign currency.
HDA president Amos Severegi said: “We have not agreed on anything and I do not know where the minister’s statement is coming from. We have allowed a few doctors to report for work to attend to emergency cases.”
Sources in the medical fraternity said there was a stalemate between the medical professionals and the Health Services Board (HSB) on how to remunerate and improve conditions of service for the doctors and nurses.
The HSB, the sources said, told the health workers that the government had no capacity to pay them in foreign currency.
Doctors who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Zimbabwe Independent vowed not to return to work until all their grievances were met.
“We have not been consulted yet. What I can tell you right now is that I am not at work, and until something is deposited into my account I am not going to work,” a Bulawayo based doctor said.
State doctors and nurses, who are paid $4 000 and $2 000 monthly, want their salaries to be pegged either in US$ or South African rand.
ByÂ Henry Mhara