HARARE, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The industrial action by Zimbabwean health workers entered a second day Tuesday, with the government saying that it is seized with the issue of improving the working conditions of all its workers.
The workers - from doctors and nurses to the lowest-ranked employees - downed tools on Monday citing incapacitation to continue reporting for work.
Those at the country's largest referral center, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, on Tuesday gathered at the hospital grounds in the morning to get a briefing from their labor leaders before dispersing after being told that the government had not yet responded to their demands, sources told Xinhua.
The government at the weekend announced a 100 percent salary hike for all its employees on top of a 175 U.S. dollar allowance, but the workers insist that this is not enough given the prevailing economic conditions characterized by persistent price hikes.
The Minister of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare, Paul Mavima, said internal processes to address the workers' concerns were underway, adding, however, that there should be realism within the public service as government finances were also needed to meet other obligations.
"There will be consultations within the government and once a new position has been developed, we will go back to the negotiating table. But the civil servants themselves have to be very, very considerate in their demands.
"We cannot put all the money on salaries. It would not make sense. There has to be service delivery. There have to be investments in terms of infrastructure development. So there has to be money left from the revenues of government after we have paid the civil service," he said.