Mozambique’s doctors still on strike over wage increase
Five days have passed with Mozambique doctors showing no sign of returning to work after the Mozambican Medical Association (AMM) called on Monday for an industrial action in a pursuit of a demand for a 100% rise in basic wages while the Health Ministry is confident that the great majority of doctors and other health workers are ignoring the strike call.At Friday press conference in Maputo, Health ministry spokesperson Francelina Romao said despite the strike all health units were functioning, although there remain “isolated problems” in some services.
Romao said many health professionals who went on strike on Monday and Tuesday have been returning to work over the past three days.
This has allowed the government to dispense with the services it requested from NGOs and other agencies, as an emergency measure, in several parts of the country, notably the central provinces of Sofala and Manica.
She warned that the Ministry of Health will apply the disciplinary measures envisaged in the General Statute of State Employees to those health workers who remain absent from their posts. Those who have been on strike since Monday have already lost five days wages.
She added that the Ministry is concerned at the continuing intimidation by strikers against workers who refused to join the strike.
There have been incidents of strikers mounting blockades or refusing to hand over keys to buildings, leading to the temporary closure of wards, health centres, pharmacies, morgues, and even warehouses containing food for patients.
Romao stressed that the Ministry is willing to enter a dialogue with the AMM in order to reach agreement on the matters covered by the memorandum of understanding which ended the first doctors’ strike in January.
She suggested that subsequently, or simultaneously, the Ministry could meet with representatives of the second striking organization, the Commission of United Health Professionals (PSU), but seemed to rule out having the AMM and the PSU in the same room at the same time.