The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) has penned an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, on the many concerns that they have raised over front-line workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The union says not all their concerns over the health safety of workers have been addressed.

DENOSA President, Simon Hlungwani, says union members want wage increases.

“While the President is saying he appreciates the health workers, we are saying that we are speaking to his conscience to know that nurses are suffering and having it difficult during COVID-19 and the lockdown. We want him to intervene to ensure that we get wage increases that we were due to receive in April this year, which we signed as an agreement in 2018 – as well as a danger allowance,” adds Hlungwani.

 DENOSA explains why it wrote the letter to President Ramaphosa:

On the salary increase issue

DENOSA says government was supposed to increase the salary of public servants on 1 April 2020, but has failed to do so. Public servants, however, continue to do their work despite the absence of the salary increases, severe shortages of staff and equipment.

“Even with greatest feelings and willingness to remain optimal in service, there comes a time when nurses will not be able to do the work they are so passionate about because of lack of means, power and ability to do so. They can no longer borrow money for their transport fare to and from work.”

“They can no longer borrow money for their lunch and to augment their budgets for milk, medical aid and shelter. They are not volunteers, and they do their work that they must be paid for,” Hlungwani wrote.

The organisation says it will approach the Labour Court as the third channel to ensure that workers receive their salaries.