Gauteng health’s woes mount
WHILE some Gauteng government pathology staff has “suspended certain operations”, the health department faces another crisis of a possible downing of tools tomorrow.
Unions representing health workers including Denosa, Nehawu, PSA, Hospersa and Nupsaw this week staged a sit-in at the provincial health department offices in Gauteng demanding pay bonuses dating back two years ago.
However, the cash strapped department has pleaded poverty saying it did not have the money to pay bonuses.
MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa said the department would approach the provincial executive council to ask for funds.
In the meantime, thousands of workers including nurses and pathologists among others, have vowed to take to the streets tomorrow.
Denosa Gauteng provincial chairperson Simphiwe Gada described the planned march as the warning of an impending shutdown.
“You can’t really have a shutdown without following certain procedures so as to embark on a shutdown. We have decided on a march as a warning to the department that indeed a shutdown is coming,” Gada said.
This is not the first time unions have clashed with the department over the bonuses, having been at loggerheads with former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu during her tenure.
The march comes as bodies continue to pile up at the Germiston government mortuary after pathologists affiliated to the South African Liberated Public Sector Workers Union downed tools last Wednesday demanding that they be trained.
Some families serviced by the mortuary have voiced their frustrations over the situation saying they had gone to the morgue several times without getting help.
However, during an interview with ANN7 yesterday, the workers denied they had embarked on an unprotected strike saying they “suspended” some services until their demands were met.
Salipswu spokesperson Victor Chukudu said the suspension of services was an attempt to get the health department to fulfil promises made to them at the bargaining council.
“What is happening here is that they are trying to concientise the department to implement what was agreed upon in the bargaining council as one of the resolutions,” Chukudu said.
He said workers had embarked on the suspension of dissections as well as other procedures. “What they need is for the department to implement the training they were promised,” he said.
According to reports, the Gauteng department of health said it had nearly reached the end of the negotiation process with the union.
Dr Medupe Modisane, Gauteng forensic pathology services acting chief executive said the pathologists were on strike but they did come to work. They performed most of their duties but refused to assist the pathologists with the actual post-mortems. The only issue on the table relates to training.
“Obviously in the interest of service we are engaging with the workers, this is a result of the strike that happened last year. This issue of training was one of the resolutions that we needed to finalise in terms of developing a training course for them,” he said.
SERVICE SLOWDOWN: Gauteng pathologist have suspended some services due to promised training not being provided.