Labour unions representing healthcare workers in Limpopo have met officials from the Health Department to discuss the planned strike on Monday.
Unions have vowed to shut down all public health facilities in the province over the implementation of two circulars that will lead to the reduction of overtime payments.
Meetings between labour and the provincial health department started on Monday.
The department held a media briefing on Tuesday in which they referred to the planned strike by health care workers as illegal.
The final meetings this week are meant to reach an agreement that could potentially stop the strike on Monday.
Workers say they are unhappy over two circulars that have been published. They say the new roster will drastically reduce their overtime payments.
The unions include those representing doctors and nurses across all state hospitals and clinics as well as emergency medical services workers.
One of the unions, Denosa, says it hopes the department will provisionally suspend the circulars.
“For us, to be able to consult objectively, we need to level the ground by putting the circular on hold. So, as I speak, we are going to have a follow up with the department. Possibly today or tomorrow! We are still waiting for the department to confirm the date and time, but we are still positive as we have agreed as parties that we should put our interest in the communities that we are serving, even if we are preparing for a strike,” says Provincial Secretary Jacob Molepo.
Limpopo Health Department Spokesperson, Neil Shikwambana, says MEC Phophi Ramathuba has mediated some of the meetings. Shikwambana says unions were presented with new proposals on the way forward.
“Proposals were laid and then the organised labour requested that they be given time to ‘caucus’ amongst themselves on the proposals that have been put through by the department. So, the meeting was adjourned and it is going to reconvene today to consider those proposals and also to try and find a common ground in order to avert this strike.”
Denosa’s Provincial Secretary, Jacob Molepo, says plans for the strike have not been suspended.
“The issue of going ahead with the strike, I think, the preparations for the strike started on Monday as we have seen the picketing at most institutions across the province. That was the beginning in terms of our preparations. Our preparations are still continuing.”
The strike action by the seven unions is planned to take place on Monday.
Showdown looms between Limpopo Health Department and labour unions: