News24

Striking Moz docs 'will have their pay cut'

2013-01-07 13:37

Maputo - Mozambican doctors launched a strike on Monday over pay and working conditions after talks broke down with the government, the country's doctors association said.

Union leaders said the initial action was for five days, but it would continue beyond that if they had reached no agreement.

The health ministry however warned that the law did not allow such an action and that striking doctors would have their pay docked.

"We're on strike for five extendable days until the government meets our demands," said association head Jorge Arroz.

"The strike is the ultimate tool by which the doctors can be better served, though we ensure that emergency services are functioning. There will be no manifestation in the streets. We shall stay in our houses," he told AFP.

The health ministry has already warned that the law in Mozambique does not allow essential public service workers to go on strike. The stoppage was also illegal because the association could not act as a union, authorities said. The country does not have a medical workers' union.

Spokesperson Mouzinho Saide told reporters on Monday that striking doctors would have their wages cut for every day they failed to work.

Last month, local media reported that doctors were demanding a basic wage of 90 000 meticals ($3 000) while the government was offering between 20 000 and 38 000 meticals.

Mozambique has a total of 1 200 doctors in both public and private practice countrywide, with a ratio of one doctor to 22 000 Mozambicans.