HARARE – Striking doctors have resolved to press on with their job boycott after rejecting an offer from the government to return to work, their union said on Monday.

The doctors’ strike entered day 38 on Monday.

Some doctors had reported for work at public hospitals on Monday after the government announced a deal on Saturday which however contained no salary increases or a commitment to pay its employees in United States dollars as demanded.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association said: “Following the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the government and the health workers, the ZHDA was given the mandate to engage its members to return to work within 48 hours ending today, Monday, January 7, at 1700hrs.

“The ZHDA carried out widespread consultations of its members as per agreement. The ZHDA members countrywide however felt that the agreement did not take cognisance of their immediate incapacitation in a raging economy as no current offer was made on the remuneration of the doctors to improve their welfare. Additionally, there were no timelines and evaluable targets for the provision of drugs and protective equipment to government hospitals.

“Furthermore, doctors have no transport money and the fuel scheme remains obscure.

“The ZHDA members have therefore remained incapacitated and will not be able to resume normal duty till these matters have been addressed by their employer.”

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The ZHDA said the few doctors who reported for duty at various hospitals “have done so as a sign of good faith and remain in solidarity with those at home.”

The government insists it has no capacity to pay salaries in US dollars, but has made a commitment to review the salaries of its workers in April.

It has also made concessions to offer the doctors vehicle loans coupled with duty free vehicle imports and not to pursue disciplinary action against those who engaged in the industrial action.