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Government Declines Further Negotiation In Zimbabwe Doctors Strike

Junior and senior hospital residents on strike for nearly a month in Zimbabwe's public hospitals said Thursday that they have yet to receive official letters of dismissal though a top official said those who failed to work Wednesday would be dismissed.

The Ministry of Health distributed a memo on Tuesday saying striking doctors would be considered dismissed if they did not return to work on Wednesday. Junior residents went on strike Dec. 21 and were later joined by senior hospital residents.

Hospital Doctors Association President Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it was in the government’s interest to pursue negotiations with the doctors, as it cannot fire all 350 striking physicians.

Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti said earlier this week that there was no room for further negotiations because Harare has put a sweetened offer on the table. But the government has refused to reveal even to the doctors the terms of the offer, saying that the increase in pay will be evidenced in their next month's pay slip.

Labor lawyer John Mawire said there is room for further talks between the two parties to the dispute because the strike by doctors is affecting the entire country.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...