Government doctors are threatening to embark on yet another crippling strike during the critical festive season, complaining that the government is refusing to pay them for the three weeks they did not report for duty between October and November.
The festive season is usually is characterized by fatal road accidents despite the heavy presence of traffic police officers on all the country’s major roads.
The government says it will slash about $100 off the salaries of doctors, who took part in what is says was an “illegal” three-week industrial action.
The strike paralyzed the health sector with doctors urging the government to review their salaries and improve their working conditions.
A letter in VOA Studio 7’s possession from the health ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Gerald Gwinji, is directing the Salary Service Bureau to dock the money saying the days the doctors did not report for duty should be treated as leave without pay.
Gwinji also says retention allowances for the health professionals must not be paid.
Efforts to get Gwinji were futile but president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association, Fortune Nyamande, says the government move is illegal.
For a government perspective, VOA Studio 7 reached Health Deputy Minister Paul Chimedza who confirmed that the doctors will not be paid.