Zimbabwe’s health workers and teachers went on strike Monday over poor pay and working conditions after rejecting a 100 percent pay rise the government offered over the weekend.
Health workers such as nurses and doctors in training and radiographers were protesting outside the country’s largest public hospital, the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in the capital Harare, as they began their indefinite strike.
Unions representing health workers said the strike was on last resort after the government refused to negotiate with them since April last year.
“The Minister of Health and Childcare (Vice President Constantino Chiwenga) has never met a health worker and the government continues to spread Lying contrary to what is prevalent on the ground,” said the chair of the Apex Health Council , Tapiwanashe Kusotera, on Monday the protesting health workers.
“They refused to listen to us and we refuse to work.”
On Tuesday the nurses also held demonstrations in major hospitals.
The strike is the second strike by health workers since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe in 2020.
Officials, citing high inflation that jumped to 131.7% in May.
Government employees want their salaries pegged to the US dollar as the Zimbabwe dollar has become very unstable.
Nurses in Zimbabwe earn an average of $79.37 per month compared to US dollars, which is $500 before the local currency was reinstated in 2019.
Four major teachers’ unions also said their Members would not show up for work for five days starting Monday to protest the to protest poor working conditions.
“The June 17 outcome of the Joint National Bargaining Council shows that the government does not take the welfare of civil servants seriously,” the unions said.
“We cannot continue to be an embarrassment in our community because of the poverty that the government believes cannot continue to embarrass them. They remain part of our working lives.” June 24 do not report for work.”
Ahead of the weekend’s pay review, the government last hiked civil servants’ salaries in February this year.
The Zimbabwe dollar has since traded at 70 percent of its value against the US dollar, and rising inflation has fueled fears of a return to the hyperinflation era in 2008, when the country was forced to abandon its currency.
Officials say they face the rapid rise in commodity prices se are unable to provide for their families or send their children to school and services.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has blamed the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the recent economic crisis, which has led to a sharp increase in the price of fuel, corn and wheat.