Mortuary workers call off 3-day strike

2014-04-11 00:00

EMPLOYEES of the Department of Health’s forensic pathology service yesterday called off their three-day strike yesterday.

The strike started on Monday, and on Tuesday the union called for a total shut down after describing a meeting they had with department officials as “fruitless”. Halalisani Gumede, Public and Allied Workers’ Union of South Africa (Pawusa’s) regional secretary, said after yesterday’s meeting with the management, they decided to call the strike off.

“We reached a settlement with the employer. We have given each other a time frame on when to implement the resolution. By 2 pm today [yesterday] our members went back to work, and those who are on night shift will be going to work,” said Gumede.

Among the union grievances was the upgrading of employees from level four to level five. Appalling working conditions and the lack of adequate clothing such as gloves and masks in some mortuaries was also an issue, as well as back pay of employees who were in the service since 2006.

Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo saluted the employees who made it possible for families to get their bodies ready for this weekend.

“We welcome the decision by the union to call off its illegal industrial action that has caused disruptions in some of the forensic pathology mortuaries in the province since Monday. As previously stated, all the issues that had been raised as reasons for disruptions are human resource related and needed participation of all the unions in the sector, not just Pawusa.”

Dhlomo said it was envisaged that all the issues would be attended to by end of July with regular information-sharing sessions until then.

“I wish to thank members of the public for their patience and understanding when faced with inconvenience as they visited our mortuaries. Thanks to the police service for assisting in the collection of bodies from crime and accident scenes and also their willingness to again make use of their skills to dissect and construct bodies for post mortems,” he said.

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