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THE Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) says it will Thursday file an urgent High Court application challenging the government’s decision to deduct salaries for all junior doctors who participated in the November strike.

Last month Health and Child Care secretary Gerald Gwinji wrote a letter ordering all hospital CEOs to submit names of the doctors who participated in the industrial action to the Salary Service Bureau to enable the deductions to be made this month.

But ZHDA on Wednesday said they would challenge the decision because it was illegal.

A statement from the doctors said the deductions “have not been done procedurally as per the requirements of our current labour laws and are also an infringement of the right to industrial action as stipulated in section 65 and 76 of the new constitution of Zimbabwe.”

The decision to approach the courts comes after the doctors also appealed to both President Mugabe and cabinet over the issue. The doctors said the decision was “made after an urgent meeting held between the ZHDA leadership and their legal practitioners” Wednesday.

The doctors blasted top officials in the ministry of health for allegedly setting them on a “collision course with the government and their patients.” They singled out deputy health minister Dr Paul Chimedza whom they said described them as “drunkards and chain smokers.”

In their appeal to the cabinet this week the doctors also blamed Dr Chimedza for being the main architect of the decision to punish all those who participated in the strike.

Junior doctors downed tools in October demanding a 400% salary hike from the current $280 per month and an upward review of their on-call and housing allowances. Senior doctors later joined the strike leading to an agreement with government to resume duties while negotiations were going on.

Source : New Zimbabwe