We have noted with concern unsettling unconstitutional statements made in the afternoon yesterday by Hon Dr Obadiah Moyo, the Minister of Health, to bar our members from exercising their labour rights to collective job action in cases of labour disputes with the employer.
The remarks come at a time when we have been engaging the Health Service Board and Ministry of Health to improve the working conditions in hospitals and create a suitable, safe, environment where doctors can assist patients optimally.
Dr Obadiah Moyo is campaigning for legislation that is not in keeping with the modern-day labour practices anywhere in the world.
The purported Bill seeks to deprive doctors their right as workers to strike and to collectively table labour disputes.
The motive is to silence the cries of disgruntled doctors who are simply demanding a fair living wage and fair living practices.
The Bill will cause an unintended severe brain drain with medical personnel seeking alternative and better working conditions in places where professionals are treated with dignity and fairness.
Doctors must be fairly treated as workers who have full labour rights like any worker in Zimbabwe. They have a right for collective bargaining and to demand better conditions of services.
We, therefore, reject any attempt meant to interfere with these rights. We remind the Minister that he is expected to come up with policies that are meant to enable doctors as health care providers in discharging their duties and suggest solutions to that effect.
We wish to reaffirm that doctors are committed to providing lifesaving services to fellow countrymen. The current economic environment has made it difficult for the majority of our members to attend to their important obligations as doctors.
The current salary our members are receiving has lost buying power as it has not been reviewed since the previous year when it was pegged at equilibrium with the USD. The salary has been effectively devalued ten times, leaving us incapacitated.
State media reports that the Health Service Board has finally reviewed our salaries are unverified as such information has not been communicated officially with the ZHDA executive.
We would like to make it very clear that we simply don’t have the capacity to report for duty anymore. Unless and until the grievance is dealt with accordingly, we will not be able to resume work.
We derive no pleasure in abandoning patients. We call upon the Minister and the employer to find a lasting solution to this impasse before they endanger more lives.
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