Circular 77: lift gag on health bosses — union

2010-08-11 00:00

NO unruly incidents were reported during the strike by members of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) yesterday.

Union members marched to the Health Department offices at the Natalia building where the general manager of human resources, Gcinamina Mkhize, received their memorandum. Security and police kept in the background as the hundreds of nurses and health workers toyi-toyied and sang.

Among the demands made by the union is the withdrawal of Circular 77, which prohibits hospital managers from entering into any discussions with the unions regarding the strike by public servants.

Nehawu spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana said union members view the circular, which was issued by departmental head Dr Sibongile Zungu, as a threat.

“We are not backing down on our demands of an 8,6% wage increase backdated to April 1 and a R1 000 a month housing allowance. On top of that, we demand the department to withdraw the circular within 24 hours, failing which [we] will see the health sector being brought to a complete standstill. The circular is a provocation to our members,” said Nkwanyana.

The government has offered a seven percent increase, a R630 housing allowance and a 1,5% fixed pay progression, which Nehawu believes is an insult given the fact that Eskom was met halfway when it threatened to down tools during the World Cup.

Nkwanyana warned that failure by the department to meet their demands could see the repetition of the 2007 public sector strike that brought the department to its knees.

Health spokesperson Fidel Hadebe reassured the public that the department will do everything possible to ensure that patients who need access to healthcare can exercise “their constitutional right to access such services even during unfortunate circumstances as being currently experienced”.

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