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  • Strikes and Protests 2007/8 - Doctors and Nurses strikes

  • ZCTU position on striking doctors
    Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
    January 10, 2007

    The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is disturbed by government's slow action in addressing the concerns of doctors who are currently on strike. The strike has paralyzed operations at state-run hospitals and it is the ordinary people that are affected.

    With the majority of the Zimbabwean workers earning way below the Poverty Datum Line that now stands at $ 351 000, it is difficult for them to access health care at private institutions. The health delivery system in the country has been in the "intensive care unit" for a long time now and it is lack of political will that has been the standards, especially at state-run hospitals, sinking lower and lower.

    Zimbabweans have been pelted left, right and center by shortages of drugs, inaccessible hospitals especially in remote areas and by a general increase in medical care expenses.
    The strike action by doctors has worsened this situation.

    We demand that government should, as a matter of urgency, address the needs of striking doctors in order to avoid loss of lives at hospitals. While labour does not condone the actions of doctors, we believe that the salaries they earn are inadequate and government should device an effective system of retrieving health personnel and other civil servant's salaries before strike action.

    The government has been giving these workers false promises that it will address their concerns for the past few years. We find ourselves faced with the same problem of doctors going on strike year after year, so we are saying to government now is the time to fulfill all the promises.

    We also believe that as long as the issue of Poverty Datum Line wages is not addressed at Tripartite Negotiating Forum level, such kind of strike action will characterize most of the year. The workers of Zimbabwe, who include those in the army and police, have been reduced to beggars as they are earning slavery wages.

    We urge government and all other stakeholders to deal with issues of salaries and wages as top priority now to avoid a volatile and potentially explosive year as the workers of Zimbabwe cannot take any more of this suffering.

    Wellington Chibebe
    Secretary General

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