Edendale Hospital workers down tools over pay

2009-05-27 00:00

OVER 70 laboratory workers downed tools yesterday at Edendale Hospital over unpaid salaries.

The workers said this month was the third time since the National Health Laboratories Service took over last year that their salaries have not been paid out to them.

One of the workers, who asked not to be named, said: “Instead of paying our salaries, they ‘lend’ us some money which you have to pay back.”

She said the amount they are lent is determined according to the basic salary of the worker. “You do not choose; the money is just deposited into your account.

“When it first happened, we thought it was a bonus and we would get our money afterwards, but then we were sent letters that stated that we had to pay it back,” she said.

She added that once the money was paid to them, the workers were given 12 months to pay it back.

The workers are members of the National Education, Health and Allied Worker’s Union and Public Servants’ Association of South Africa.

The strike was not organised by the trade unions, but the source said the unions were called in yesterday to have talks with the hospital management staff.

She said a letter for the unions is being drafted for all the wor­kers to sign.

The source said the strike caused delays with the doctors’ work and it has especially affected the patients.

“The managers have been tel­ling us to get back to work, but we will continue to strike until we get our salaries paid out to us,” she said.

The department of Health failed to reply to queries about the strike by the time of going to press.

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