With the rising number of infections in Gauteng, some workers have accused their employers of flouting COVID-19 health regulations.
It is alleged they’re forcing staff to come to work even after there have been positive cases of COVID-19 in their work area.
Lancet Laboratories is one of the companies that is being accused of violating COVID-19 protocols.
“We are really frustrated and angry because we don’t know what we will end up with, at the end of the day we still have to go to work to provide for our families,” says an anonymous Lancet laboratory worker.
“The problem is that we are an essential service, but we don’t get proper PPEs. We are not screened at work and we are told that we must check our own temperature – how am I going to do that because when I leave home I don’t even have a thermometer with me,” says the worker.
In the video below, report on Lancet’s alleged flouting of COVID-19 protocols:
Two weeks ago one of the staff members allegedly tested positive for COVID-19.
The rest of the staffers claim that the offices were not sanitised and they were not tested yet they were forced to continue to work.
They further alleged that the company has forbidden them from talking about this issue and were instructed to come to work as if it was business as usual.
They say they were not provided with counselling to assist them during this highly stressful time.
The staffer is also angry that they are being forced to pay for the COVID-19 tests from their own pockets.
“Day in and out I am working with COVID-19 samples, the company says if I suspect I have corona then I must get tested but I must pay for the test myself. This is really unfair because we are also under a lot of stress and depression because we are vulnerable and we don’t know where to run,” says the Lancet worker.
They also claim that an email was sent out by management, at the beginning of the month, telling staff to rather monitor their own temperature daily before coming to work.
They say employees have been threatened with disciplinary action if they fail to disclose any COVID-19 related symptoms to their managers.
With job security threatened, many are afraid to disclose their symptoms and are forced to stay at home not knowing whether they will be paid or not at the end of the month.
SABC reporter Nozintombi Miya tried to get comment from Lancet regarding allegations made by staff members.
The company replied with the message below:
Since the start of level 3 of lockdown, the number of infections in the province has steadily climbed.
Gauteng has recorded more than 26 000 cases, over 6 600 recoveries and 147 deaths.
Currently, 1 927 patients are admitted with COVID-19 in both public and private facilities in the province.
Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku revealed this during a media briefing of the province’s Command Council on Thursday.
The Health MEC has also come out strongly against companies flouting COVID-19 protocols.
The MEC says, “This is essentially a criminal case, it’s criminality because it’s managed by the act in the Labour Act that companies must have occupational health in companies and we are following up as the command centre that we will establish a hotline that gives members of the public a chance to report such companies. We are also working with the Department of Labour to help us enforce some of the measures because the outbreaks come from companies.”