Doctors in Zimbabwe that have been on strike (some since 1 December 2018) and the government have finally reached an agreement to end the strike. The agreement was reached on Saturday, 05 January 2018 in a negotiation of participants dubbed Health Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel.
The terms of the agreement are as follows:
- Government agreed to unfreeze posts in the health sector, it will, however, not pay salaries in United States dollars.
- Doctors will get retention allowances in forex and these will be paid by donors
- Doctors’ salaries will not be in USD
- Government will review allowances in April 2019.
- Doctors also received an advance on the vehicle loan scheme
- Doctors agreed to go to work within 48 hours of the agreement (the 48 hours expires roughly at the end on Monday.
- Doctors will be able to import cars duty-free according to their seniority starting January 2019. The maximum values for the duty-free scheme shall be US$7 500 for JRMOs and SRMOs, US$15 000 for middle-level doctors (SHOs, HMOs, GMOs Junior Registrars and District Medical Officers; and US$30 000 for Senior Doctors (Senior Registrars, PMDs and Consultants.
- There will be no victimisation of doctors who went on strike. There will be no dismissals or suspensions and no further pursuing court proceedings. No member of the ZHDA and ZiGRA shall be answerable to anything pertaining to this industrial action
- Disciplinary hearings which will be held will be done by senior doctors.
Government’s negotiating team was led by Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals CEO, Thomas Zigora. Doctors were represented by Dr Mthabisi Bebhe.
Said Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Mr Nick Mangwana said:
“Starting from today onwards some of our doctors will begin going to work.”
However, in a new twist to the whole saga, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association dismissed the report that they are calling off the strike. ZHDA secretary-general Mthabisi Bhebhe set the record straight. He said the official from the Apex Council who signed the deal did not represent the striking doctors.