Striking Doctors Worried Over Govt Threats
The medical doctors whose industrial action clocked 34 days today are living in fear following revelations that they are receiving unspecified threats meant to force them to abandon their push for better working conditions.
This follows unsuccessful negotiations the government and medical personnel have had in a bid to end the impasse that has sent public health sector into crisis.
In a statement released today, Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors of Association (ZHDA) revealed that their leadership is receiving unspecified threats including the deployment of the joint operation taskforce to force them to abandon their industrial action.
“The threats have been piling by day. Recently we heard about the deployment of the joint operation task force to handle the situation as it is. Why the task force has been deployed to handle a labour dispute that can be resolved by a simple one day discussion and signing of agreements is shocking. Additionally, many other threats have been given to doctors individually and to the leadership.”
The Health Services Board (HSB), public hospitals doctors’ employer had earlier suspended 550 striking doctors, a move later reversed after the doctors stood their ground.
Government has also threatened the striking doctors accusing them of turning political in their industrial action with Acting President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga saying ‘government was equally worried with some political overtones which the labour issue had assumed.’
But ZHDA refuted the claims saying; “There is nothing political about asking your employer to improve the conditions of service and your welfare. All other proclaimed theories remain theories which will forever be unproven.
“At the same time, we cannot withhold any person or organisation from commenting about the on-going impasse in their own capacity as it is a public matter. The comments however remain comments and do not speak of any other underground connections whatsoever.”
The doctors demand among other things salaries to be paid in US dollars and improved working conditions.