Health workers call off strike, give employer 14-day ultimatum

HARARE – Doctors and nurses have called off their strike “to prevent further loss of life” but gave their employer a two-week ultimatum to attend to their grievances, failure to which they go on another crippling industrial action.

In a Friday correspondence to Health Service Board chairperson Dr Paulinus Sikhosana, Health Apex team leader Dr. Tapiwanashe Kusotera, said the decision to end the job action through representative associations was arrived at after considering the plight of the suffering public.

Health Apex is a body representing all unions in the healthcare sector.

“The leaders of the Health Associations after considering the plight of the public, have resolved to TEMPORARILY adjourn the industrial action and request the healthcare workers to resume service,” said Kusotera

“This has been done to prevent any further loss of life.”

Health workers, who comprised nurses, doctors, pharmacists, radiologists and other medical professionals, downed their tools on Monday to try and compel government to pay wages in US dollars.

Workers argue that the country’s spiralling inflation has eroded the purchasing power of their RTGS wages.

The public workforce, through its various unions, has rejected as useless, a blanket 100 percent wage increment for all civil servants announced by government a week ago.

Police were unleashed to beat up some placard waving healthcare workers who had congregated at Parirenyatwa Hospital earlier this week to express their grievances.

A meeting between unions and the Health Service Board yielded nothing as the employer failed to table any meaningful wages to appease the restive workforce, according to Kusotera.

Added the union chief in his correspondence to Sikhosana Friday, “It is the hope of the employees that the employer will immediately table a meaningful offer, addressing ALL the matters raised by the workers.

“Should the employer fail to table a meaningful offer, one that addresses the plight of the worker within 14 days from receipt of this letter, the employees will have no option left but to withdraw service without notice.

“We have taken the decisions in good faith, that thee employer will engage with us. We believe that the ‘ball’ is now in the employer’s court.”

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