HARARE, January 4 ‑ Zimbabwe teachers and nurses have issued the government with a notice to strike, joining a job boycott by medical doctors.
“We are in total solidarity with the doctors and all medical personnel currently on job action,” a statement signed by eight labour unions said.
“You injure one, you have injured all.”
The unions said the government should stop issuing “subtle and open threats” against medical doctors for embarking on a legitimate strike, urging it to urgently address issues affecting civil servants facing similar economic hardships.
“The non-availability of doctors’ services is affecting all other services including health and education,” the civil servants said.
“Our incapacitated members will not be able to attend to their normal duties for more than two days a week.”
Like the doctors and other medical personnel on strike, the teachers and nurses demanded that their salaries be paid in United States dollars backdated to October 2018. They also wanted the immediate payment of outstanding bonuses.
Junior doctors refused to work on December 1, demanding better working conditions and remuneration in hard currency.
The government through the courts declared the job action illegal and instructed the Health Services Board to institute disciplinary procedures.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, tasked with handling the crisis, summarily dismissed about 550 junior doctors for breaching the Hippocratic Oath, also accusing them of being influenced by agents of regime change.
Other medical practitioners have responded by taking sides with the junior doctors.
In a statement addressed to the health and child care ministry, hospital medical officers, junior and senior registrars said they had agreed to stop attending to emergencies.
The government tried to avert the crippling strike by engaging recent Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery graduates, but they spurned the advances.
Chiwenga said it was improper to treat university graduates as junior doctors, arguing they were undergoing internship and should be treated as such.
This has sparked protests by university graduates who say they will refuse to take up downgraded job positions. (ANA)