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Zimbabwe doctors end strike without deal

Harare, Zimbabwe | AFP | Doctors in Zimbabwe have ended a more than month-long strike without winning a deal on higher salaries, their union said Thursday, adding the government had pledged to address their grievances.

Hundreds of doctors in public hospitals walked out on December 1 demanding salaries in US dollars, an increase in on-call allowances and an improvement in drug supplies and equipment.

Their decision to return to work came days after teachers’ unions announced a strike and the main civil service union said it was consulting members after rejecting the government’s offer of a 10-percent pay rise.

“We have declared that the strike has ended as dialogue continues and we expect that our members should start reporting for duty,” Mtabisi Bhebhe, president of the Hospital Doctors Association, told AFP.

“Government has committed to address the salary issue and improve drug supplies and supply of medical sundries and equipment.

“Poor remuneration and the current fuel shortages remain a challenge which may hinder our members from reporting for duty consistently.”

Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a downturn for more than a decade with shortages of cash, high unemployment and the government battling to pay its workers as public services crumble.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from long-time ruler Robert Mugabe and won a disputed election last year, has pledged to revive the moribund economy and attract foreign investors.

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