Government and doctors talks hit deadlock
SALARY negotiations between senior doctors and the government have deadlocked after the latter insisted on paying in local currency, the Daily News reports.
This emerged during a meeting held on Wednesday between deputy Health minister John Mangwiro and the senior doctors, who have given the government a two-week strike notice, demanding that their salaries be paid in US dollars. Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) secretary-general Aaron Musara told the Daily News that despite having raised their concerns over poor remuneration in local currency, the government insisted that negotiations would only take place in Zimbabwe dollar terms.
“We met the deputy minister of Health on Wednesday and expressed our concern over remuneration using the Zimbabwe dollar. It is very evident that the local currency has lost value and the economy has re-dollarised. It only makes sense for the government to, therefore, pay our salaries using the US dollar.
“However, the deputy Health minister indicated that salary negotiations would only take place in Zimbabwe dollar terms. Our view remains that even if the government was to increase the salaries in the local currency, a month or so down the line the money will lose value and we will be back to where we are today,” Musara said.
He added that this was indicative that the government was not willing to address their concerns over poor remuneration and working conditions.
“We also talked about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, including doctors. The minister kept on indicating that the government is committed to availing the PPE, but the situation on the ground shows no commitment. Health workers are being exposed to the coronavirus daily due to a lack of the PPE,” Musara further said.
Mangwiro yesterday said government was willing to negotiate with the doctors and reach a “mutually beneficial agreement”.