KWAZULU-NATAL DOCTORS have CALLED OFF THE STRIKE THAT has seen 300 of their COLLEAGUES sacked .
The decision to suspend the strike was taken yesterday after a marathon meeting with Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini and SA Medical Association (Sama) representatives at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine in Durban.
Dlamini spent more than an hour explaining the importance of suspending the strike.
He persuaded the striking doctors to end their protest, saying South Africa could not afford another day without doctors. If doctors agreed to suspend the strike, Dlamini said he would facilitate the process of reinstating their fired colleagues.
The KwaZulu-Natal department of health fired doctors on Monday after they defied a labour court order compelling them to return to work.
Dlamini said he would meet KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize and health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo to make sure the fired doctors are were reinstated.
The doctors are expected to report to work today.
Earlier, Cosatu and the government were at loggerheads over the strike.
Patrick Craven, Cosatu spokesperson, said: "The main stumbling block now is the dismissal of doctors.
"Cosatu accepts that the strike was illegal, and supports the view that essential services workers should find other methods of resolving disputes, through negotiation, conciliation and arbitration, as allowed for under the Labour Relations Act. We accept that the strike has hurt the public.
"We feel the doctors' understandable anger and frustration at the government's failure to implement the terms of the 2007 public sector salary agreement on OSD.
"This is not a normal salary dispute but one created by the government's failure to deliver on its promises and is therefore largely responsible for the situation."
Meanwhile, the Cabinet on Wednesday decided that the wage offer tabled this week was final. It said striking doctors must resume their duties with immediate effect.
Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said: "If the wildcat strikes continue the government will be forced to resort to drastic measures like interdicts and further action against striking doctors.
"It is unfair that an impression is created that the government is insensitive and not listening. Government cannot address all the problems overnight."
Yesterday, Sama was inundated with calls from some of the sacked doctors and has promised to negotiate with the government to reverse the decision.