Emergency dept staff return to work

2014-05-20 00:00

THE Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff members returned to work this week following a week-long stand-off with their employer, the Department of Health.

“The workers are fully back at work. They started going back on Sunday and today [yesterday] they are all back”, said Mazwi Ngubane, a union leader from the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) representing the workers.

He, however, warned that their issues had not all been addressed.

“The overtime was not the only issue that the workers were complaining about. There were other issues such as working conditions, using cars that are not in good condition and the shortage of working materials. The management needs to make good on these problems or the stand-off could start up again,” he said.

Last week, the entire EMS department, estimated at around 300, in the uMgungundlovu District took sick leave and family responsibility leave, leaving the district without any ambulance services in protest following the non-payment of overtime pay that they said had not been paid for more than a year.

The impasse was finally broken on Friday during a meeting between the union and management. Management provided a written offer on how they would settle the payments.

Ngubane said according to the agreement, the money owed to the workers will be paid every Thursday until it has all been paid off.

The agreement brought to an end five days of havoc in the district. There had been almost no provincial Health Department paramedics or control room staff working.

Management was believed to be doing some of the work of the EMS staff while some paramedics had been brought in from Durban to help with the inter-hospital transfer of patients.

There were also allegations that police had to pick up some of the calls from people looking for ambulances.

Colonel Jay Naicker said, “We do receive calls to the 10111 emergency numbers from members of the community requiring medical assistance.

“Members at the control room do their utmost to assist the injured by obtaining the relevant information from the caller and thereafter transferring the messages to the EMS or a private ambulance service to attend.”

Attempts to get comment from the department were unsuccessful.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.