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DOCTORS have described the government decision to cut their December salaries as a “declaration of war” and a “shock Christmas present” saying they were already “consulting to determine the way forward.”

The doctors had hoped that the government would not go ahead with the threat after they approached the High Court challenging the decision to punish them for taking part in the October strike.

But the doctors were shocked to receive December payslips reflecting the deductions.

This followed a directive from Dr Gerald Gwinji, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, to the Public Service Commission to deduct amounts ranging from $100-$300 for any doctor who took part in the strike.

Junior doctors downed their tools for more than two weeks in October demanding a salary hike from the current $280 per month and an upward review of their on call allowances.

The Zimbabwe Doctors Hospital Association (ZDHA) said they were shocked by government’s double standards as they received their December salaries with deductions ruining their festive season.

A statement said: “The move to deduct the doctor’s salaries came as a huge surprise after the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) had reached a painful compromise with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Health Services Board to get the doctors back to work while negotiations continue.”

ZHDA said the move by government was a direct violation of labour rights and a total disregard of the country’s constitution and sabotage of social services delivery in the country.

“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.”

Source : New Zimbabwe