Union threat­ens to shut city clin­ics over bonuses

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

THE SOUTH African Lib­er­at­ing Pub­lic Sec­tor Work­ers Union (Salip­swu) has threat­ened that all clin­ics in the city will be shut down if the North­ern Cape De­part­ment of Health re­neges on prom­ises to pay bonuses to com­mu­nity health work­ers.

The provin­cial or­gan­iser of Salip­swu, Thapelo Thole, said yes­ter­day that the MEC for Health, Fufe Maka­tong, had stated in a press re­lease, is­sued at the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber that all reg­is­tered and recog­nised com­mu­nity health work­ers (CHWS) would be ab­sorbed into the De­part­ment of Health, ir­re­spec­tive of age and qual­i­fi­ca­tions, while a 13th cheque would also be paid to CHWS.

“Some of them re­ceived the R8 500, how­ever, oth­ers have not yet been paid, while de­duc­tions have been made from the money paid to oth­ers,” Thole said.

“Work­ers are de­mand­ing that the de­part­ment must pay all the money owed to them by Fri­day or we will close all clin­ics in the city,” Thole said yes­ter­day. “We can­not op­er­ate like this.”

He added that dur­ing meet­ings with the CFO it was promised that the is­sues raised by the work­ers would be ad­dressed. “How­ever, our mem­bers are now stat­ing that the de­part­ment has in­di­cated that they will not re­ceive their bonuses, de­spite the agree­ment that they would re­ceive a 13th cheque.”

Ac­cord­ing to Thole, de­spite the di­rec­tive from the MEC to the de­part­ment to pay CHWS their bonuses, the lat­ter was “now com­ing with reck­less in­struc­tions not to pay these bonuses”.

“We are not fools and we are de­mand­ing that the bonuses be paid by no later than Fri­day. We are ready to close down the clin­ics for the en­tire month. We can no longer trust the de­part­ment be­cause after en­gag­ing them we are in­formed that they will not pay bonuses this month. If nec­es­sary, we will take them to the CCMA be­cause we have ev­i­dence of this agree­ment.”

In a state­ment is­sued at the time of the an­nounce­ment, the spokesper­son for the Of­fice of the MEC for Health, Lebogang Ma­jaha, said that the MEC had met with trade unions rep­re­sent­ing CHWS.

At the meet­ing it was agreed that all reg­is­tered and recog­nised CHWS would be ab­sorbed into the de­part­ment, ir­re­spec­tive of age and qual­i­fi­ca­tions, on Novem­ber 1 2018 and that the R1 000 owed to CHWS for five months will be back dated to the agree­ment date of June 22 2018 and be paid with their first R3 500 by Novem­ber 30 2018.

It was also stated that a 13th cheque would be paid to CHWS as orig­i­nally promised.

Ac­cord­ing to Ma­jaha, the move came after govern­ment passed the Min­i­mum Wage Bill in Par­lia­ment as law in June 2018.

“Fol­low­ing this process, the mat­ter on the com­mu­nity health work­ers’ em­ploy­ment and re­mu­ner­a­tion was tabled at the Pub­lic Health and So­cial De­vel­op­ment Sec­tor Bar­gain­ing Coun­cil (PHSDSBC), wherein the res­o­lu­tion was signed by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of trade unions and the na­tional De­part­ment of Health. This agree­ment binds the na­tional and provin­cial De­part­ments of Health, trade unions and their mem­bers, in­clud­ing com­mu­nity health work­ers who are not mem­bers of any of the unions and who fall within the reg­is­tered scope of the PHSDSBC. The pro­vi­sions of this agree­ment ap­ply to CHWS for the du­ra­tion of twelve (12) months upon the sign­ing of this agree­ment, in June 2018.”

“The CHWS form part of the ward-based pri­mary health care out­reach teams (WBPHCOT) es­tab­lished to im­prove ac­cess to health care as they are in­tended to be the first point of en­try to the health sys­tem,” Maka­tong said in the state­ment.

“They pro­vide ser­vices such as child, ado­les­cent and women’s health, ba­sic pre­ven­ta­tive care and ed­u­ca­tion, iden­tify peo­ple at risk and re­port/re­fer to the clinic, sup­port ad­her­ence in chronic treat­ment, early de­tec­tion and in­ter­ven­tion of health prob­lems, ill­ness re­ten­tion in care of Hiv/tu­ber­cu­lo­sis (TB) in­fected pa­tients on treat­ment and of­fer ba­sic nurs­ing care ser­vices.

“The CHW pro­gramme will con­trib­ute im­mensely to govern­ment’s ef­fort to­wards achiev­ing the 90-90-90 tar­gets aimed for the year 2020, for early de­tec­tion, treat­ment and re­ten­tion in care for es­pe­cially HIV and TB.”

Ac­cord­ing to Thole, the de­part­ment had failed to re­spond to en­quiries from the union re­gard­ing the out­stand­ing pay­ments.

The Of­fice of the MEC for Health did not re­spond to me­dia en­quiries by the time of go­ing to print.

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