Zimbabwe state doctors go on strike over pay


HARARE. Sept. 4. 2019 - [Top Health News Afica] - Zimbabwe’s public sector doctors went on strike on Tuesday, demanding a further salary increase of 401% that they want indexed to the U.S. dollar despite accepting an earlier offer from the government of a 60% pay rise. 

Zimbabwe is mired in its worst economic crisis in a decade, with triple-digit inflation, rolling power cuts and shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel and bread that have revived memories of the hyperinflation that forced it to ditch its currency in 2009. 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has proposed big pay rises for doctors and other public sector workers in an attempt to avert crippling strikes. Police have banned a series of protests called by the opposition in major cities and have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators. 

The main unions representing doctors and teachers, who make up the bulk of public service workers, said they had rejected the government’s salary offers, which would see the lowest paid worker earning 1,023 Zimbabwe dollars ($90.45) a month. 

The doctors accepted their 60% pay increase but said it was not sufficient to avert planned strike action. The teachers are not currently on strike. 

“We met with the government representatives yesterday and they promised to expedite other allowances for health personnel but so far it has just been empty promises,” the head of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA), Peter Magombeyi, told Reuters. 

The Health Services Board (HSB), which represents the government, said in a statement late on Monday that it was surprised the doctors were taking strike action despite accepting the earlier pay offer. 

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