Zimbabwean Healthcare Workers to Strike Over Poor Wages

February 28, 2024
Doctors strike | Report Focus News
Doctors strike

Harare, Zimbabwe – A significant move by healthcare professionals, including nurses and doctors, is set to take place as they have declared a two-day strike commencing this Thursday, aimed at protesting against their inadequate compensation. This decision follows a 48-hour ultimatum issued to the Zimbabwean government last Monday, demanding immediate action to alleviate their dire financial situation.

The healthcare sector in Zimbabwe, already burdened by the nation’s economic instability and political challenges, faces another blow as its workers’ salaries, when converted to US dollars at the government’s interbank rate, amount to a mere US$10. This alarming figure has prompted the Health Apex team, a coalition of labor unions within the healthcare sector, to voice the frustrations and struggles of health workers through numerous unsuccessful attempts to engage with their employer.

The Health Apex team’s notification outlined the critical issues plaguing healthcare workers, including the failure to revise health sector-specific allowances, the insufficiency of basic salary, and the inadequacy of housing and transport allowances, which cumulatively fall below US$10 at the current interbank market rates.

In a formal notice, the healthcare workers have given the government a 48-hour period, starting from February 26th to February 28th, 2024, to address their grievances as per the Health Services Act’s section 16(2)(b) and (c). Should their concerns remain unaddressed, the proposed strike will take place from February 29th to March 2nd, 2024.

This impending strike underscores the ongoing crisis within Zimbabwe’s healthcare system, which has seen a considerable exodus of health workers over the past decade. Many have sought better opportunities and living conditions in countries such as Europe, America, New Zealand, and Australia, leaving behind a depleted workforce struggling to cope with the demands of a failing economy.

The healthcare workers’ plight highlights the broader challenges faced by professionals in Zimbabwe, as they navigate through the complexities of an economy in turmoil and a government that has yet to respond effectively to their pressing needs.