The Gauteng Health Department has confirmed that the security of patients and its employees at Edenvale Hospital, east of Johannesburg, has been compromised by the non-payment of workers.
This is after security officers employed by a private company at the facility failed to show up for work following a salary dispute with their employer.
A service provider allegedly failed to pay employees at Edenvale and Sizwe hospitals respectively, on time.
Labour Expert Michael Bagraim has urged the Gauteng Department of Health to apply some corrective measures against the service provider.
This is after a private company that has been awarded a multi-million rand security tender with the department, delayed to process salaries of its employees by two weeks, something the workers say has become a norm.
Bagraim says the affected workers could approach the labour department for intervention.
“This is unfair labour practice, it is illegal. There should be a complaint laid directly to the CCMA and the Security Regulatory Authority. They have legal recourse. They have been wrongly treated. Some could even resign and claim constructive dismissal. They should also complain to the Gauteng Health Department and put an end to the tender.”
Most of the workers are security guards and say they sometimes only receive half of their monthly salaries without any explanation. They claim anyone questioning the employer’s attitude is threatened with dismissal.
“We were supposed to get our payments on the 25th but they said later, nothing again,” says one of the security personnel.
Another worker says; “They don’t want to give us our salaries. When we ask they say nothing. They also want to pay us half salaries but we work a full month.”
The company’s manager says workers will be paid soon.
“The money was paid yesterday so it might be it hasn’t shown in their accounts. But maybe from 12h00 it will show. It can delay until later in the month depending on what could be the circumstances. But you can come to my office if you want us to talk about that.”
Gauteng Health Department spokesperson Kgwara Kekana says the department cannot be blamed for the service provider’s mistake.
“Payment to the service provider was made on time and the last payment was on the 9th October. The other payment will run this week. And we can confirm that the workers did arrive late at work last week. But we will have more engagements with the service provider.”
Some of the affected security officers are contemplating leaving the company while others are calling for labour inspectors to intervene.