Strike action at the medical centre

2015-04-30 14:30

THE National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) stated that it will continue to fight for the rights of the Midlands Media Centre (MMC) Private Hospital workers following a deadlock in wage negotiations between the union and the hospital.

This resulted in hospital staff resorting to protected strike action last Friday.

By Monday afternoon the two parties had not reached consensus.

Nehawu’s provincial secretary Phakama Nduna-kazi said the three-month negotiations with hospital management have proven to be fruitless.

“The employer did not agree with our demands. We went to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), but the matter was not resolved.

“Right after the strike started last Friday, the hospital applied for a lock-out of all employees who were on strike. We are still waiting for management to tell us when we can meet to reach a conclusion in these wage negotiations,” said Ndunakazi.

Ndunakazi told the Maritzburg Fever reporter that most of the hospital employees cannot afford medical­ aid with what they earn.

MMC marketing and public relations officer Kavith Harrilall said that the company’s salary increase, which ranges from 6.8% to eight percent, effective on 1 March this year, is “generous” compared to the current and projected inflation rate. He said that the increase is in line with increases in the private health-care sector.

“MMC is disappointed that at this stage the wage negotiations between the hospital and Nehawu have reached a deadlock. MMC’s offer is based on various salary brackets as well as allowances and company contributions towards staff benefits.

“MMC recognises Nehawu as an important stakeholder in the employer-employee relationship. However, a defensive lock-out will be implemented to ensure good order during the protected strike action,” said Harrilall in a statement.

The hospital does not see the strike as an amicable way of solving wage negotiations.

Harrilall added: “MMC is of the respectful view that strike action is not an effective way to settle this impasse. Negotiation and dialogue serve as ideal tools from which parties may reach sustainable terms of settlement.

“MMC management and the board of directors­ assure all stakeholders that adequate contingency measures have been implemented to minimise the impact of the strike on patients­, visitors, doctors, service providers and staff.”

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