The government has said that medical doctors are not permitted to strike since they are vital employees.
According to Permanent Secretary of Labour and Social Security Chanda Kaziya, the present go-slow by resident doctors is illegal.
Mr. Kaziya stated in a statement provided to ZANIS by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Public Relations Unit that there is no law that authorises critical workers to strike.
“There is no provision in the law that grants an essential worker to withhold labour even if they are unhappy with their working conditions,” he said.
He explained that the doctors should have used the court or the Ministry of Labour as a mediator in airing out their grievances instead of risking live of many people seeking medical services.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour quoted the law and said ‘when an essential worker goes on strike or on a go-slow, they shall not be paid their monthly salary.
Mr. Kaziya has meanwhile disclosed that government was already addressing the demands which the members of the Resident Doctors Association of Zambia (RDAZ) were making.
The doctors are asking for accrued benefits and have since decided to down tools.
He said the RDAZ members can only make a decision to go on strike if nothing is being done about their requests.
He clarified that it has already been communicated to the doctors that government, through the Ministry of Finance, is addressing their demands hence the need for them to practice utmost patience.
Mr. Kaziya has since appealed to the doctors to resume their normal duties and engage government through the Ministry of Finance to share a plan of how their demands will be met.
He added that essential workers need to abide with what the law demands them to do.
And Resident Doctors Association of Zambia president, Brian Sampa said requests have been made for some time now.
Dr. Sampa said RDAZ decided to go on strike in order to get a reaction from government.
He said doctors are not motivated because they are not getting what they are working for.
He explained that the association was expecting Ministry of Labour and Social Security to explain how government has fallen short of providing for the doctors.
Dr. Sampa vowed that the go-slow will only end when all the arrears and demands are met and the doctors are satisfied.
“Failure to meet their demands, the doctors are ready to face the consequences of not following the law,” he said.