Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
The Labour Court has declared the 40-day long industrial action by doctors unlawful and ordered them to return to work within 48 hours.
This comes as parties to the Health Service Bipartite negotiating panel agreed to a 60 percent increment on health sector specific allowances last week, but the doctors’ representatives turned down the offer. The ruling comes after the Health Services Board had taken the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association to the Labour Court to show cause why the collective job action should not be terminated.
Justice Rogers Manyangadze, sitting with Justice Lawrence Murasi, declared the strike unlawful and ordered the job action to be terminated forthwith. No disciplinary action will be taken against the doctors.
However, those that fail to comply with the court order will face Government sanction. “Members of the respondent who participated in the said collective job action be and are hereby ordered to report for duty within 48 hours from the date of this order and the applicant shall be entitled to take disciplinary action against members of the respondent who fail or neglect to comply with this order,” read part of the order.
“Applicant shall not take any disciplinary action against members of the respondent who participated in the collective job action from 3 September 2019 up to the date of this order.”
The court also resolved that the dispute between the feuding parties be referred for arbitration in terms of the Arbitration Act (Chapter 7:15).
In this regard, the court directed that the arbitration be held within 14 days from the date of the order and parties should agree to the requisite terms of reference.
It was the doctors’ argument that their remuneration was not in line with comparative remuneration trends in the region. The doctors downed tools pleading incapacitation.