PMB Labour Department staff return to work

2014-05-12 00:00

STAFF at the Pietermaritzburg Department of Labour office have returned to work and two union leaders have been suspended.

Provincial chief inspector Edward Khambule told The Witness that they have suspended two staff members. “We believe that the situation is now under control and wherever possible management will not hesitate to take necessary actions against perpetrators and whoever is found to be responsible for the interruption of service delivery to our clients.”

National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) regional secretary Zimasile Giyama said the department failed to follow procedure. “We were told that our union members were given letters of suspension, which is wrong. These members are represented by the union, and these letters are not valid because we did not receive them. There is no valid suspension in terms of the labour law, no legal basis for suspension,” Giyama said.

The department has suspended two union leaders in the branch on allegations of stopping work and inciting others to participate in a work stoppage, and padlocking the offices.

In April the gates were locked with strong chains and padlocks and as a consequence staff and members of the public were unable to enter the premises. A locksmith was called and the doors opened, but staff refused to enter the building, saying they did not feel safe. It subsequently appeared they were demanding the investigation report arising from the investigation of their manager Sindi Zungu. This arose following allegations of mismanagement and nepotism.

Though more than 100 staff members have returned to work the public have continued to complain about poor service.

Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) provincial manager André van Schalkwyk said they are still hoping to get the investigation report from the Labour Department.

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