The Health Services Board yesterday suspended more than 500 doctors for refusing to return to work after the Labour Court had ruled that their strike was illegal.
The doctors have been demanding among other things that they be paid in United States dollars saying their present salary had been reduced to $100 a month.
While their basic salary is said to be just below $400, doctors get a number of allowances which include: a housing allowance, a transport allowance, medical allowance, rural allowance and an on call allowance.
The government, which has been accused of being insensitive to the doctors’ plight, said it had made significant progress in addressing their grievances.
It started receiving medicines valued at $2.2 million from 11 December. An order for medicines worth $25 million had also been placed.
The government has also arranged a vehicle loan scheme for doctors from the first quarter of next year.
It has made arrangements for doctors to access fuel from the CMED and has also made arrangements with service stations.
The government said it had unfrozen 402 posts in the health sector and 214 posts were available for doctors who have finished their two-year internship.
The government said it had no capacity to pay doctors salaries in US dollars or to increase their on-call allowance to $15 an hour.
“Doctors in the Health Service currently earn a minimum package of US$1800. Gvt will continue with the No-Work-No-Pay policy. Doctors can negotiate while working @MoHCCZim,” the Ministry of Information tweeted.
When junior doctors went on strike at the beginning of this year complaining that they earned a paltry $329 a month, fact-checking organisation, Zimfact, said this was not correct. It broke down their package as follows:
Basic salary $329
Housing allowance $250
Transport allowance $100
Medical Allowance $49
Rural Allowance $15
On-Call Allowance $1.50 per hour
The doctors also had 160 hours or more on call each month.