The junior doctors’ strike which has been ongoing for over three weeks has been declared illegal by the Labour Court as the doctors did not follow the notification procedures prescribed by the law.
The Labour Court ruled on Saturday night that by embarking on a job action without following procedure, doctors had violated provisions of the Labour Act.
Justices Betty Chidziva and Gladys Mhuri ruled that the doctors and members of staff who participated in the unlawful job action should report for work within 12 hours.
The findings of the court, in terms of Section 107 of the Labour Act, are as follows: Having listened to both parties’ submissions, the court found that the collective job action embarked on by the respondents (Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association) and its members on the 1st of December 2018 is unlawful.
This finding is based on the fact that the respondents in the critical services category, as provided for by the provisions of SI (statutory instrument) 137 of 2003, are prohibited from engaging in the collective job action.
Respondents even, through their witness Dr Muzoremba, failed to prove that they were exposed to any occupational hazard which they reasonably feared to pose an immediate threat to their health and safety.
All members of the Zimbabwe Doctors Association, doctors and members of staff who participated in the unlawful job action should report for work within 12 hours of service of this order on the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association at Parirenyatwa Doctors’ Lounge, Harare.
The Court further ruled that the Health Services Board (HSB) should withhold the salaries of doctors who have been on strike.
The Health Service Board is entitled to take disciplinary action against members of the Zimbabwe Hospital Association, doctors and members who participated in the unlawful job action and also that the respondents are to bear application costs on the ordinary scale.