‘Deeply concerned’ PSC urges wage talks

2010-09-03 14:46

The Public Service Commission (PSC) urged negotiators to find common ground with unions as the nationwide public sector strike was affecting service delivery.

“While public servants have the right to strike, the protracted nature of the strike is impacting negatively on service delivery,” the PSC said in a statement.

“The PSC, as the custodian of good governance, is deeply concerned about the ongoing strike, which has entered its third week,” it said.

The commission said the future of pupils, particularly matriculants, was being compromised and the lives of communities were being put at risk.

Earlier, the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said union leaders would explain the finer points of the government’s revised pay offer to striking workers over the weekend.

This, after realising that members’ initial rejection of the offer may have been based on incomplete information, it said.

Unions were hoping to have an answer for government on Monday.

“We only gave ourselves one day to consult our members. They rejected it initially, but now we are saying why don’t we give ourselves more time,” said Nehawu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla.

‘Situation improved’
Meanwhile, military health workers and soldiers were still filling empty posts at 62 hospitals around the country today.

Workers clustered outside some of the health care facilities hardest hit by the strike, but health department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said others had started returning to their posts.

“The situation is indeed beginning to improve. People are coming back to work, but there are still areas of great concern: issues of intimidation and sabotage,” said Hadebe.

At the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg, strikers gathered at the Perth Street entrance, but unlike previously, did not block access. Hospital spokesperson Lovey Mogapi said about 50% of the staff went on strike, but that some returned to work on today, just not in uniform.

At the nearby Rahima Moosa Hospital, there were only a few strikers, but the gates were locked and military staff were visible.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without borders) reiterated its concerns at people not getting their anti-retroviral treatments.

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