Zimbabwean health workers threaten strike over pay

Zimbabwe's health workers have threatened to go on strike starting Jan. 1 if the government fails to pay them their December salaries.


The health personnel are among thousands of civil servants that have not been paid their December salaries and annual bonuses as government battles a severe cash crunch.


The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said in a statement Tuesday that its members would start this Friday down tools to protest against late payment of their salaries.

“The ZHDA will immediately send formal communication to the Minister of Health, Minister of Finance, clinical directors and heads of department on this strict deadline,” the statement said.

Nurses also threatened to go on strike for late payment of their salaries.

“Let it be known that our meagre salaries cannot stretch beyond the 31st of December 2015 as we had made budgets with pay dates in mind.

“As such, we would like to announce that as of 1 January, we do not have transport money to go to work which simply means that we will be home starving without even food and rentals, not mentioning money for school fees,” said Zimbabwe Nurses Association general secretary, Enock Dongo.

The government has been reeling under a cash crunch since the beginning of the year due to low foreign direct investment and low productivity in the economy.

As a result, the tax base upon which government now solely relies for cash to run the economy has been dwindling.

While government had over the months pushed back salary dates for its workers, this month proved a nightmare for the close to 500,000 workers as they celebrated Christmas without getting paid.

Only members of the security forces received their salaries before Christmas as government battles to meet its salary obligations amid a worsening economic situation.

Teachers, who form the bulk of the civil servants, received their salaries on Dec. 29 while the rest of the workers including doctors and nurses will get their salaries on January 5.

Government spends about 260 million U.S. dollars monthly on wages, which is about 80 percent of the total budget. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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