Botswana Hospital Workers Strike

The protest has closed down many clinics and put the main hospital under severe strain.

Posted: 05/19/2011 03:09 PM EDT
Botswana Hospital Workers Strike

Botswana doctors, nurses and other hospital workers are on strike in an effort to push for higher pay.


As a result of the five-week work stoppage, many clinics in the southern African nation have been forced to shut down, and the country’s main hospital is under severe strain, having to depend on foreign doctors and student nurses, the BBC reports.


The government fired participants earlier this week after ruling that essential staff were prohibited from striking. The move reportedly inspired even more workers to join the strike.


"Since the government has decided to fire our colleagues, we have also decided to join the strike and mobilize other health personnel to do the same so that hospitals are left with no doctor or nurse," one doctor told AFP. About 100,000 are reportedly involved in the protest.


No end is in sight as the sides involved look to be far apart.


Hospital unions are requesting a 12 percent salary increase, but the government has only offered 3 percent. The workers are also asking that all of the fired workers be rehired among other demands. Talks between the parties broke down Thursday.


The strike has affected other services as well, as the Minister of Education was forced to close down all of the nation’s government-run primary and secondary schools indefinitely earlier this week due to concerns about escalating protest violence, reports Voice of America.


(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)