Zvamaida Murwira and Blessing Chidhakwa
Striking doctors risk losing their monthly salaries should they continue defying calls to return to work as Government is now invoking the Labour Court ruling allowing it to institute disciplinary measures against them.
This was said by Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo while fielding questions from journalists during the 37th Cabinet decision matrix held yesterday.
“As you are aware, we requested the doctors to come back to work. The Labour Court disposal order said Government should take disciplinary action against those not coming to work. Government has taken a decision as recommended by the Health Service Board who are following that disposal order by the Labour Court, the disciplinary action will be done by HSB where doctors not coming to work are disciplined, the first thing is whoever is not coming to work will not be paid, secondly since they are not coming to work action related to those not coming to work will be taken. The HSB has all the statutes and they will follow them,” said Dr Moyo.
Questions had also been raised that some striking doctors who rejected the 100 percent salary increment had indicated that they were not willing to receive the money if it did not meet their expectations.
“That is sacred information you are telling us. From our side we know that if someone is not at work they are not paid, it is that simple,” said Dr Moyo.
Earlier, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Acting Minister Professor Amon Murwira had said Government had taken a decision to take disciplinary action against striking doctors.
“Government has indeed gone out of its way to try and find an amicable solution by addressing the concerns by the medical doctors through constructive dialogue. However, given the uncompromising stance adopted by the medical doctors which seems to be driven by other hidden interests, Government through the Health Service Board remains committed to following the dictates of the country’s laws and has come to the point where it has to commence disciplinary proceedings for the striking doctors as from October 21, 2019,” said Prof Murwira.
He said Government was giving attention to areas that require concerted action in the medium to long term within the health service system.
This included improving on material support to urban municipalities to enhance their capacity to provide services, expeditious finalisation of public-private partnership agreements at Central Hospitals to alleviate shortages of medicines and equipment and thereby ensure continuity of services among other measures.
It also included implementation of modalities for the establishment of institutional accommodation to ease accommodation and transport costs for health personnel and strengthening local manufacture of drugs to render them more affordable to the generality of the Zimbabwean people.