In the context of the approval of the Single Salary Table (TSU) last October by the Assemble of the Republic (AR), Mozambican Parliament, several civil servants and state agents were satisfied, hoping to obtain reasonable salaries, in response to the current cost of living.

However, when the new salary table came into effect and the civil servants began to receive their salaries, a series of objections began: 1) delay of the October salary (which was only paid in November); 2) errors in the classification of the civil servants; 3) reduction of the salaries of some civil servants, among other irregularities.

In the wake of these non-conformities, different civil service union groups expressed their anger threating to paralyze activities and pressing the Government to solve the alluded problems.

In the wave of strikes, the teachers, the health professionals through the Association of Mozambican Doctors (AMM), the Mozambican Association of Judges (AMJ), as well as the employees of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), a privileged group that has always benefited from high salaries (with a bonus rate equivalent to 75 percent), have spoken out. 

In this context, the Citizen Observatory for Health (OCS), as guardian of the National Health System (SNS), contacted some health professionals to understand the consequences that a possible strike would generate in Mozambique, in a context where most of the population depend on the public hospital for not having financial conditions to resort to the private sector.

(Read more about user fees to better understand the financial situation of users of the Public Health System: https://www.observatoriodesaude.org/en/adoption-of-user-fees-is-not-proportional-to-the-improvement-of-health-services/ https://www.observatoriodesaude.org/en/ocs-demands-regulation-of-user-fees-in-public-hospitals/)

In an interview to OCS, the vice-president of the Nurses’ Association, Grácio Guambe, defends that “nobody wins with the penalization of activities because of this problem, hence the need for the parties to reach an agreement through dialogue so that the users of public health services are not harmed.”     

According to the vice-president, negotiations between the Government and the Nurses’ Association should be guided by a mutual spirit of understanding through permanent information sharing.        

“There must be dialogue and mutual understanding for good communication between the parties, as well as being clear in the presentation of proposals on the table”, Guambe said, stressing that tolerance is crucial for an agreement beneficial to all.

“This is a thoughtful exercise. A debate must be carried out, all interested parties must express openness. Nothing is gained by paralyzing activities because it is the SNS that comes out destroyed”, the source said, adding that “if the strike goes into effect, it will compromise the functioning and quality of health institutions.”

It should be noted that the vice-president’s pronouncements come at a time when AMM decided to cancel the strike that had been scheduled last Monday (November 7), following ongoing negotiations with the government to resolve the problems detected in the TSU.

“The new appointments have been scheduled for December and January. We will be working in the hope that the government will do its part, responding to claims that are not of now, nor of the TSU, date since the implementation of the Statute of 2013”, said the president of the Governing Board of the AMM, Milton Hussene.

Thus, Grácio Guambe argues that one should continue to defend a universal health system, in which all people are assisted “and that the opportunities and existing resources are for everyone, without leaving anyone behind.”

It is necessary, Guambe argues, that universal access to health care observe the way in which the sector’s servers are treated, respecting the functions, categories, and professional skills of each one, “guided by a good salary mechanism within the civil service.”

Asked how the both parties should reach a green light, the vice-president pointed out mutual trust as the way out, arguing that the media, in turn, should be guided “by impartiality in the way it handles this strike issue, clarifying misconceptions and eliminating fake news. We all have a way to contribute to the smooth running of the system.”                         

“Striking, as always, is not the best way to enforce rights, one must invest in dialogue and communication between the parties”, he stressed. Guambe also said that while the Nurses’ Association constitutes a body responsible for promoting technical-professional dignity and good working conditions, it will never observe the strike as the best way to enforce rights, so “one should invest in dialogue and communication between the parties. The country is too big to accept a problem like this.”

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