Govt, labour unions in talks to resolve workers’ demands

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The Esidimeni tragedy should have taught health workers a lesson. This is the message from Gauteng Health MEC, Gwen Ramokgopa on the protests that took place at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic hospital last week.

Ramokgopa made an unannounced visit to the hospital on Wednesday.

She says government and labour unions are in talks to resolve the demands by assistant workers at the hospital.

The hospital is functioning as per normal after National Education, Health, and Allied Workers’ Union  suspended the strike after a court interdict by the department.

The workers, including nurses and support staff, demanded payment for overtime work and performance bonuses.

Last week, workers at the hospital filled hospital corridors with rubbish, turned away some patients and prohibited doctors from working.

“My understanding is that management met with unions and they have agreed to a process that we have put in place that will look at whatever issues that they have raised including the picketing which were legal that they did. What was not legal was trashing especially using medical waste. That was actually tantamount to criminality of its worse form because you don’t only put patients and staff and public at risk but also at risk of infection,” Ramokgopa explained.

Although normality has been restored, nurses are still not happy. They face insurmountable challenges including a shortage of staff and non-payment of performance bonuses.

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