GOVERNMENT has docked close to $300 the pay cheques of all public hospital doctors who participated in a 17-day strike that ended last month.
The deduction was effected on the December salary that was paid on Wednesday.
Junior doctors that participated in the strike will have $529,36 deducted over two months.
The deduction came after the Health and Child Care ministry ordered hospital chief executive officers at the country’s four main referral hospitals to submit names of the doctors who participated in the industrial action to the Salary Service Bureau to enable the docking to be made.
However, in a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) said the move came as a surprise after it had “reached a painful compromise with the Health and Child Care ministry and the Health Services Board to get the doctors back to work while negotiations continue”.
“The ZHDA is currently engaging with its membership to determine the way forward but all the association’s chapters have said that this is a declaration of war with doctors,” the doctors said.
“ZHDA is also waiting patiently for the courts to rule on this unjust punishment to doctors as we have since launched an urgent High Court application to reverse the decision.”
Junior doctors went on strike in October demanding a 400% salary hike from the current $250 per month.
They were also demanding an upward review of their on-call and housing allowances.
ZHDA said it was shocked by government’s action as “it becomes the first time ever in the history of the country that workers can be punished for exercising their constitutional right”.
“The ZHDA, therefore, urges President Robert Mugabe that as he cleans up government of incompetent staff to consider looking at ineffective institutions like the Health Services Board and officials in the ministry of Health and Child Care because they have proved that they are not only incompetent but inept,” the doctors added.