Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
The Health Services Board (HSB) last week said it is anticipating to commence disciplinary hearings for striking doctors on Thursday this week following their continued defiance to a court order, which declared as illegal their withdrawal of labour.
Responding to emailed questions from The Herald, HSB board chairperson Dr Paulinus Sikosana said the defiant doctors were being served letters summoning them to a hearing.
He said a letter by the doctors circulating on social media indicating they are unable to attend the hearings does not have a bearing on the scheduled hearings.
“The board is in receipt of the communication from the doctors,” said Dr Sikosana. “This will not have any bearing on the scheduled hearings. Disciplinary hearings are going to proceed as scheduled starting on Thursday next week (this week).
“Currently, they are being served with hearing letters.”
The doctors had earlier written to the HSB saying they will not be able to attend the hearings arguing that they were still open to dialogue, but gave a condition that any offer from the employer must be at interbank rate.
The doctors also argued they had not violated any provision of their contract, but were simply demanding a fair living wage.
“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 interbank rate,” wrote the doctors in a letter dated October 23, 2019 signed by the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association.
“We believe we have not committed any misconduct by demanding a fair living wage.”
Doctors stopped reporting for work on September 3, citing incapacitation and demanding a cost of living adjustment at interbank rate.
The rest of the health workers accepted Government’s offer serve for the doctors who then exited the Health Apex Council citing uniqueness of their nature of job.
Since then, the doctors have not been reporting for work despite a Labour Court ruling which declared their mass job action illegal and ordered them to report for work within 48 hours from the date of the ruling.
In its ruling, the Labour Court also referred their dispute for arbitration — a process of which was supposed to take place while they are at work.
However, the doctors defied the ruling and opted to continue withdrawing their labour.