HARARE, July 7 (The Source) – Zimbabwe state workers on Thursday said they would call off their strike on Friday after the government announced that it would bring forward, by a week, deferred June salary payments for doctors and nurses.
Teachers, doctors and nurses in Zimbabwe began a strike over unpaid salaries on Tuesday which, coupled with the country’s biggest protest in over a decade by its restive population, piled pressure on the under fire government of President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe has been in power since independence from the United Kingdom in 1980, but at 92, has seen his hold challenged by a spontaneous social media movement mobilising against his administration’s handling of the moribund economy.
However, the civil servants’ representative Apex Council demanded that government pay salaries for the rest of the state workers by Tuesday next week.
“The Apex Council, sitting on today 7 July 2016, hereby advise all civil servants and health workers to resume to work as from tomorrow 8 July 2016.This follows the expiry of the period we had notified the employer as well as to create space for further dialogue with the employer regarding the issue in dispute,” said the Council in a statement.
“While we appreciate the backward adjustment of the pay date for health services to the 8th of July, we further demand that the same adjustment be extended to the rest of the civil service whose pay date should be brought forward to Monday, 11 July 2016 or at the latest Tuesday, 12 July 2016, in the name of parity,” said the council.
The strike paralysed the health and education sectors system in the country. At Zimbabwe’s two largest state hospitals, Parirenyatwa and Harare Central, non-critical patients were told to come back next week because junior doctors and nurses were on strike, leaving only senior staff to work.
Teachers at most state schools around did not report for duty. Teachers were scheduled to get paid on Thursday.
The move by the workers would provide welcome relief for the government after organisers of Wednesday’s general strike pledged on Thursday to continue action until President Robert Mugabe falls.
“We are getting to a place where we are now expressing that we have had enough. What we are doing is about one action, one voice concerning our frustration. Enough is enough,” protest leader, Evan Mawarire, a pastor who launched the social movement – #ThisFlag told Reuters.