The Labour Court yesterday reserved judgment on the legality of the doctors’ industrial action.
The government last week approached the Labour Court as doctors repeatedly snubbed their employer’s call to return to work.
Lawyer for human rights, Doug Coltart who is representing the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) said their main argument in the matter was that doctors were not willingly on strike, but were unable to get to work due to the state of the economy.
“Doctors were not able to get to work and cannot afford basic needs, this does not amount to a job action,” said Mr Coltart.
“We also argued that the Labour Act does not apply to doctors because they are governed by the Health Services Act. Doctors face imminent threat to their health and safety because they don’t have enough money to pay for their health insurance.”
Justices Lawrence Murasi and Rodgers Manyangaidze presided over the issue and judgement is expected soon due to the urgency of the case.
One of the reasons cited by doctors is that their remuneration is not in line with comparative remuneration trends in the region.
Last Friday, parties to the health service bipartite negotiating panel agreed to a 60 percent increment on health sector specific allowances but the doctors’ representatives turned down the offer.