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Health minister says planned wage strike by doctors and nurses frozen

Declares those seeking to down their tools had ‘other motives’

HARARE – Health and Child Care Minister Douglas Mombeshora has disdainfully dismissed plans of a strike by public hospital doctors and nurses saying “no well-meaning Zimbabwean” will embark on the industrial action when government was looking into their grievances.

His comments follow vows by the country’s essential health staff to down their tools starting February 29 to March 2 to press for an increase in their wages.

Through their Health Apex Council, doctors and nurses on Tuesday said they will embark on the job action if the Health Service Commission continues ignoring their demands for improved wages.

But Mombeshora told journalists on the side lines of an annual progress report meeting on patient safety in Harare Wednesday that organisers of the planned strike will put their intended industrial action on ice pending reopening of talks between government and its disgruntled workforce.

“About the intended strike, we understand they wanted to start today (Wednesday) but I don’t think any well-meaning Zimbabwean would do that.

“Those who want to engage in industrial action have other motives other than not serving their country’s health service.

“We called them discussing what they want government to do for them and if not, may they tell us who is capable,” Mombeshora said.

The minister said government was going to look into the health workers’ grievances but cannot address the issues at “the click of a finger”.

“We are on record as the Ministry of Health stating that we are looking into their concerns of bettering their conditions of service.

“As I said, government does not operate in a manner where if a grievance is raised, by the click of a finger, they are addressed.

“It weighs all its workers’ issues and find means to ensure that their working conditions are improved.

“So, those who want their working conditions improved, I hope they come to us for a dialogue and we take their matters to the Health Service Commission,” he said.

ZimLive could however not readily confirm from organisers of the strike if they still intended to proceed with the job action despite what could pass as half-hearted assurances of an improved situation by the minister.



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