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Zimbabwe govt dismisses US$ wage demands by striking doctors

by ZimLive
11 Dec 2018 at 21:07hrs | Views
Civil servants will have to contend with their RTGS salaries for a while after a cabinet vote against junior doctors' plea to be paid in United States dollars (USD).

This comes as a blow to the health sector which is crippled by a strike which entered day 10 on Tuesday. Doctors are demanding a pay review from electronic money to the American dollar and improvement in conditions of service.

Teachers are also on a walk from Mutare to Harare hoping to draw attention and convince government to pay them in USD.

Zimbabweans now have to pay with USD for many commodities including medicines and vehicle import duty.

Health Minister Obadiah Moyo said the demand by the striking doctors is misplaced at a time when the government is struggling to secure foreign currency to cater for essential supplies such as drugs, fuel and wheat.

"There is an issue of payment of salaries in US dollars. Cabinet does not feel that this is the right way to go. Neither is it the correct way to think especially in an environment where the United States dollar is scarce," said Moyo, addressing journalists after cabinet this Tuesday.

He added: "We all know that we need the USD to buy, in the case of health, all the medicines that we are short of and it would sound awkward for staff to ask for payment in USD for their salaries."

He said Cabinet had taken the view that the doctors' strike was illegal as the doctors had not followed "due process as provided for under labour laws."

"This relates to the requirement for three bipartite meetings, the declaration of a deadlock, arbitration and a 14-day notice period before embarking on a strike," Moyo said.

Ministers, he said, had "nonetheless noted that a number of the issues of concern to the junior doctors and other health professionals were already being addressed by the government."

He called on the doctors to "respect the sanctity of human life and return to work."

The doctors have accused the government of pursuing "media propaganda" and lacking urgency in addressing their concerns.

Source - ZimLive