Maputo, 28 Aug (AIM) – The Association of United Mozambican Health Professionals (APSUSM) on Sunday suspended its strike until 5 November.
The Association’s chairperson, Anselmo Muchave, cited by the independent television station STV, said this would allow time for dialogue with the government’s new negotiating team, headed by Prime Minister Adriano Maleiane.
This is a complete volte-face by Muchave. On Thursday, he was declaring, not only that APSUSM would continue its strike, but that it would withdraw even minimum services from the public hospitals.
The doctors, represented by the Mozambican Medical Association (AMM), had returned to work on Thursday, but Muchave made the extraordinary demand that, since they were no longer on strike, the doctors could do all the jobs normally performed by APSUSM members – including driving ambulances, carrying stretchers, working in the morgues and so on.
Three days later, these demands were forgotten, and Muchave said that all APSUSM members would go back to their posts.
On Thursday, Muchave said that the change in the government negotiating team was not a sufficient reason for APSUSM to suspend its strike. But on Sunday, dialogue with the Prime Minister’s team was precisely the reason given by Muchave for calling off the strike until early November.
Muchave had claimed that APSUSM has 65,000 members, 90 per cent of whom had obeyed the strike call last week. These wildly unlikely figure will now not be put to the test.
The demands made by APSUSM include a revision of the placing of health professionals in the new unified wage table (TSU) for the public administration, and improvements in the supply of medicines and equipment in the health units.
With both the AMM and APSUSM suspending their strikes, reporters who visited Maputo health units on Monday morning, found that they were attending to patients as normal.