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ARM TWISTING WON’T WORK, DOCTORS TOLD

By PETER SICHALI

GOVERNMENT will not allow itself to be arm twisted by resident doctors because their actions are illegal, Public Service Management Division Permanent Secretary Boniface Chimbwali has said.

And Mr Chimbwali has warned that unemployed doctors attending meetings organised by the suspended Resident Doctors Association of Zambia (RDAZ) President Brian Sampa risk being lacklisted from the forthcoming recruitment.

Mr Chimbwali said it was unfortunate that an association without industrial bargaining power has been arm twisting the government.

He said Government was aware of some unemployed doctors who have been attending illegal Zoom meetings because they believe they had nothing to lose.

Mr Chambwali said the go slow by doctors was illegal and government will not hesitate to dismiss those will stay away from duty for 10 consecutive days in line with the conditions of service for civil servants.

And Mr Chimbwali has warned resident doctors against being used as collateral damage.

Mr Chimbwali said Dr Sampa has been facing disciplinary charges for absenteeism and is now using the association to suppress his case.He said it was unfortunate that the resident doctors had decided to run away from the negotiating table despite Government’s willingness to dialogue.

Mr Chimbwali said the RDAZ was not a trade union therefore had no bargaining power.

And Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga said the ongoing “go slow” by junior doctors was ill timed especially with the upcoming elections and the onset of the Covid-19 third wave.

Mr Malupenga said it was unreasonable for resident doctors to expect government to employ 500 doctors immediately and meet their other demands.

“There are processes and procedures involved in employing people in the civil service and government is owing several other employees therefore it is surprising that resident doctors should be the only ones to make such demands,” Mr Malupenga said.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama said RDAZ was not being truthful in their engagement with the Ministry of Health.

Dr Malama said Ministry of Health is this year recruiting 566 health workers including doctors.

He said it was unjustifiable for resident doctors to withdraw labour despite the government through the Ministry of Health explaining what it was doing to address their demands.

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