Doctors and teachers in Zimbabwe strike over unpaid wages

July 5, 2016 5:29 pm

police are seen in Harare on July 4, 2016, during clashes with public transport drivers. (AFP)

In Zimbabwe, teachers,
doctors and nurses began a strike Tuesday over unpaid salaries amid a
deteriorating economic situation in the country.

The head
of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association, Fortune Nyamande, said
the strike action could continue for several coming days.
“The
issue is that doctors cannot come to work because they have not been
paid. It looks like this (strike) will go on until July 14.”
In
the capital, Harare, witnesses said non-critical patients were told to
come back next week as junior doctors and nurses were on strike at the
two largest state hospitals of Parirenyatwa and Harare Central. Only
senior staff members were at work in the two major medical centers.
According
to Reuters, students could be seen playing at sports fields at most
state schools around Harare in the morning because teachers did not come
to work. However, school heads, who are not allowed to strike under
Zimbabwe’s labor laws, reported for duty.

Pupils walk home from Kubatana Primary school in Epworth near Harare, Zimbabwe, July 5, 2016. (Reuters photo)In
addition to that, a little known social movement called ThisFlag has
called for a national stay-away day on Wednesday “to shut down the
country” in protest against the government.
Reacting to
developments, acting Labor Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said the state was
ready to talk to workers about their grievances.
The
administration of President Robert Mugabe has said it will pay nurses
and doctors their June salaries on July 14 and the teachers on July 7.
The government has also delayed paying the June salaries of the security
services and military personnel by two weeks.
The strike action
comes a day after police used force against protesting taxi drivers in
Harare. The Monday protests were the first to turn violent since 2005.
Zimbabwe’s economy is beset by cash shortages. The issue has prompted small, spontaneous protests over the past month.
Finance
Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in London on Monday that he hoped
multilateral lenders would sign a deal for Zimbabwe to clear its arrears
by December.

Men
push a load of cement past anti-riot police vehicles and water cannons
in Epworth near Harare, Zimbabwe, July 5, 2016. (Reuters photo)Zimbabwe’s
main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says Mugabe
has failed to properly address issues such as economic decline, mass
unemployment and emigration in Zimbabwe while accusations have been high
about repression of dissent and vote-rigging during his tenure.
Mugabe,
who appears regularly in public, has ruled Zimbabwe since its
independence in 1980. He has promised that he will run again for
president in 2018.

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