Mozambique medics march for more money

2013-06-04 22:34

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Maputo - Hundreds of Mozambique health workers wearing face masks marched through the streets of the capital on Tuesday as their strike for higher salaries extended into a third week.

Over 600 medics, including doctors and nurses, wore the masks to highlight what they say is the government's lack of response to their demands.

"The silent march is meant to symbolise the silence we perceive on the part of government," said Paulo Gudo, a spokesperson for the Mozambican Medical Association (AMM).

The strike has crippled services at public hospitals where military doctors, interns and Red Cross volunteers have been roped in to assist.

The doctors, many of whom earn less than $600 a month, want their salaries doubled.

They were not placated by a 15% raise they received following a strike in January.

Three days of talks with the ministry of health last week yielded no results.

Riot police with dogs stopped the protesters from marching near the prime minister's offices.

The workers waved paper plates with the inscription "hunger" and "empty", with some wailing and rubbing their stomachs.

One protester held a placard reading: "We are tired of counting our small change at the end of the month".

The medics are also demanding better working conditions in hospitals.

"We are exposed to a lot of sicknesses. Every day we are covered in blood, piss and everything. But the president doesn't respect what we do," said a worker who earns the equivalent of $70 a month.

Read more on:    mozambique  |  southern africa

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