Maputo, 11 Jul (AIM) – The doctors who resumed a nationwide strike on Monday claim that the Mozambican government has not complied with most of what was agreed earlier in the year.
The strikers say that 15 points were agreed between the Mozambican Medical Association (AMM) and the government on 8 February, but the government only complied with one of them. They admit that the placing of doctors’ wages within the new Unified Wage Scale (TSU) for the public administration has improved, but the other 14 points were no more than promises.
They accuse the government of not negotiating in good faith, and regard taking strike action as the only solution.
They even accuse the government of cutting doctors’ wages. “To our surprise in the wage packets of May, instead of seeing all the aspects we had been waiting for since March, we saw a reduction in the wages of our colleagues, and this left us in a very complicated situation”, said the AMM General Secretary, Napoleao Viola, in an interview with the independent television station, STV.
He said the doctors presented their concerns to the authorities, but there was no improvement.
Viola also accused the government of changing the composition of its negotiating team, and the new negotiators were not aware of agreements earlier reached on such matters as overtime pay,
“Often, when we reached an agreement, perhaps in writing, there are questions between the lines, which are the reasons that led to the agreement”, he said. “If the person negotiating wasn’t there on the day the agreement was produced, he won’t know how the understanding was reached”.
Because of the changes in the government’s negotiating team, aspects of the agreements were not being respected, Viola claimed.
“This new team appointed by the government says it doesn’t recognize two of the points that were agreed, one of which is the overtime formula for doctors in the public administration”, he said. “And even the small amount the government says it’s going to pay, it hasn’t paid since October last year”.
Despite feeling “betrayed” by the government, the AMM says it is waiting for an invitation from the government to return to the negotiating table.
The strike began on Monday, and the AMM says it will last for 21 days. It is not yet clear how many doctors have joined the strike, and the Health Ministry has not commented on how much disruption the strike may have caused.