Angry staff strike at Labour Dept

2013-10-10 00:00

HUNDREDS of people were left with only three managers to help them when staff at the Pietermaritzburg offices of the Labour Department refused to work yesterday.

The staff were striking in protest at the return of regional manager Sindi Zungu after a memorandum with numerous allegations against her surfaced.

As previously reported by The Witness, the memorandum submitted on September 16 made allegations of maladministration, cronyism, victimisation and intimidation against Zungu. Staff then staged a sit-in at the office, demanding an investigation into the allegations.

Zungu went on leave and the employees resumed work. However, she returned to work on Monday, angering the staff. They stopped working on Tuesday.

A striking employee who would not be named said: “We do not think that Zungu should be at work while she is being investigated. If she is here, she can tamper with evidence or intimidate and victimise witnesses.”

The department instructed managers at the office to continue working so that service delivery would not be interrupted, but it was evident that three people were insufficient to deal with the number of clients.

The strikers remained in the office, without working, while awaiting feedback from their respective unions; the Public Servants’ Association of SA (PSA) and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).

According to the provincial manager of PSA Andre van Schalkwyk, both members of the PSA and Nehawu are unhappy about numerous issues at the centre including issues against their employer.

The Department of Labour has deployed an investigator from the head office in Pretoria to investigate the grievances raised by the employees. The investigation started on October 8.

The Department of Labour did not respond to questions on the matter.

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