Govt, doctors deadlocked

HARARE - The Health Services Board (HSB) has said the meeting it convened with the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) last weekend was meant to straighten procedural issues and not to discuss a pay package.

The HSB issued the clarification as doctors threatened to down tools on Monday next week.

Unions representing more than 400 State doctors have been locked in a dispute with the government over demands to raise their salaries amid austerity measures being implemented by government to tackle the budget deficit.

Officials from the HSB and the Health and Child Care ministry met union leaders on Saturday.

The ZHDA wanted government to increase their basic salary from $282 to $1 200 and slash government accommodation rentals from $250 to $37 for bachelor’s flats and $45 for one bed-roomed flats.

Fortune Nyamande, the ZHDA president, said the ministry and HSB sought a formal meeting with the ZHDA executive and the parties met on Saturday with the HSB and a representative from the ministry.

This was after ZHDA had handed a 14-day ultimatum two weeks ago to the ministry of Health and Child Care demanding the review salaries and allowances.

“There were areas where we strongly differed and others where we were making headway but we have hope that we can resolve the issues amicably,” Nyamande said.

Lovemore Mbengeranwa, the HSB chairperson,  said the route taken by the ZHDA to issue an ultimatum to government was wrong and therefore the board saw it fit to induct them.

“Basically the ultimatum route was a faulty procedure and all we were doing is to show them how things are done,” said Mbengeranwa.

“Our purpose is to provide the best possible working environment for the professionals. We acknowledge that what our health professionals are getting obviously leaves a lot to be desired but you have to look at it from the economic perspective”.

According to minutes from the Saturday meeting, the board urged ZHDA executive to withdraw their ultimatum and seek recourse through the Health Service Board Negotiating Panel (HSBNP).

“The HSB informed the ZHDA that its ultimatum was unlawful and unprocedural in view of existing legal provisions. The members were reminded of Statutory Instrument 111 of 2006 which constitutes the HSBNP.

“The ZHDA was further advised to educate their constituency on the possible negative consequences to their internship training and progression should they resort to engage in an unlawful industrial action,” read the minutes.

In terms of the regulations, employees are mandated to register their grievances through their relevant staff associations.

Failure to reach an agreement on any issues leads to the matter being referred for arbitration.

“That process was not followed,” said Mbengeranwa.

In a statement issued by ZHDA yesterday, doctors said they were forging ahead with the strike action.

“We have lost confidence that the government has any concrete verifiable plans to review our working conditions as highlighted in the ultimatum sent to them,” ZHDA’s statement said.

“ZHDA has been directed by its members to call for a peaceful nationwide strike by doctors beginning on Monday, October 27 this month as a response to the laxity shown by government to address our concerns.

“This strike shall only be called off if our demands are met through a written formal communication by the employer.”


Comments (6)

oooh! shit vakomanaka toraramirepi!? zvinenge zvava kutoda vana Tsvangirai vapindire mugvmnt macho izvi becoz ZANU PF yega yatadza.

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They have pegged the maximum salary of a CEO of a municipality on US6000.00 per month and they expect a doctor to earn US 282.00 .Please lets be serious because even 1200.00 they are asking for is nothing compared to what they do to society.To imagine how many years of study these guys go through before qualifying makes one wonder why they are being looked down upon.

chimuti - 23 October 2014

Take the example of a rural council C.E.O., besides chairing useless council meetings, overseeing the collection of rates from poor small struggling businessmen and sitting on the land committee that grabs and distributes land indiscriminately, of what real essential purpose is he to society? And for all his troubles he gets a minimum of $6 000. Now compare that to a life saver who is asking for a paltry upward review of his salary to $1 200 from the current $280. Heaven help us all.

Dr Know - 23 October 2014

The salaries for C E Os for local authorities may have been pegged at whatever figure but the guys will obviously get more money from allowances on unlimited trips. The minister may have thought that he has plugged a leaking hole but believe you me the local authority chefs make their money out of travel and subsistence allowances. Workers go for months without salaries but when it comes to travel allowances, the money is always available

Hondo - 23 October 2014

Its fine we understand the increment but a rent of 37 and 45 haiiteka iyo its too little even cabin do not cost that much

Mwana Wevhu - 23 October 2014

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