Dozens of Zimbabwean doctors have been suspended by the authorities for their participation in a strike that has paralyzed public hospitals in the country for two months, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said on Tuesday.
Practitioners in the public sector have stopped work since the beginning of October to demand of the government a revaluation of their salaries, whose value has melted because of hyperinflation and the devaluation of the local currency.
The strikers claim that their salary has lost fifteen times its value in the space of one year and no longer exceeds the equivalent of a hundred euros per month.
Zimbabwe has been plunged for the past 20 years into a terrible economic crisis, with an unemployment rate of more than 90% and shortages of food, fuel or medicine.
Prices rose more than 300 percent year-on-year in August, according to the World Bank. The doctors rejected all the salary increases proposed by the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, which has obtained justice that it declares their strike illegal and orders them to return to work.
Faced with their refusal, the authorities initiated disciplinary proceedings against the recalcitrant. « Disciplinary hearings (…) started on November 1st. Of the 80 doctors prosecuted, 77 have been convicted and dismissed, « Mutsvangwa told reporters on Tuesday after the cabinet meeting.
« All necessary measures are taken to ensure a return to normal as soon as possible, » she added.
The country’s officials, who are also demanding a salary increase, have in turn called for demonstrations on Wednesday in the streets of the capital Harare.