Staff picket over OSD non-payment

2010-03-18 00:00

STAFF at the Town Hill Psychiatric Hospital picketed at the hospital’s administration buildings yesterday.

The picketing started last week with the staff attempting to get the Health Department to attend to the non-payment of their occupation-specific dispensation (OSD) since 2007.

A staff member who asked not to be named said psychiatric institutions in the province are sidelined from the provisions of the OSD.

“This is in contrast with the 2007 agreement between the Health Department and employee representatives that psychiatric employees would be given a once-off payment as we fall under the specialised stream. What’s annoying is that other provinces have given this benefit to their psychiatric institutions.

“Every time we engage the provincial department, we don’t get the desired feedback. Most of the time they throw us from pillar to post,” said the member.

He said the agreement is that professional nurses in these institutions would get R160 000 while operational managers would get R235 000 per annum.

Sister Nonto Dlamini of Fort Napier Hospital told The Witness yesterday that her colleagues have also joined the pickets.

She said the plan is to intensify the action until the department takes action to solve the payment dispute.

“The fact that an issue dating back to 2007 has not been resolved shows that the provincial department is dragging its feet or is not doing enough towards solving the problem.

“We feel that through these pickets we will achieve the main goal, to get what belongs to us,” said Dlamini.

KZN Health spokesman Chris Maxon said the OSD issue is still being negotiated at national level.

He said the issue of bringing the professional nurses working in psychiatric institutions into the speciality nursing stream has been referred to the national department for a directive.

The affected staff have been advised that the matter is being dealt with.

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