Zimbabwe health workers could face jail for striking under new law

Source: Zimbabwe health workers could face jail for striking under new law | Reuters

Zimbabwean healthcare workers strike over pay
People walk past Zimbabwean medical workers as they sit outside Sally Mugabe Hospital during a strike by state doctors and nurses to press for higher pay, in Harare, Zimbabwe, File. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe on Tuesday signed a bill into law that outlawed organised protests by healthcare workers who could now face a fine or an imprisonment of up to six months.

The signing by President Emmerson Mnangagwa comes after health workers were locked in a protracted fight with the government over poor salaries last year.

Thousands of nurses and doctors at state-run hospitals in the southern African country went on strike last year demanding a hefty raise and wages in U.S. dollars due to a slide in the local currency and steep inflation that eroded the value of their earnings.

An exodus of doctors and nurses has left Zimbabwean hospitals understaffed, with over 4,000 health workers leaving the country since 2021, the country’s Health Services Board said in November.

Many nurses in Zimbabwe earn less than $100 a month.

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