Ambulance crews take 'sick' days in protest

2013-02-06 17:31
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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal ambulance crews were not officially on strike on Wednesday, but had apparently been booking off sick en masse to make a grievance felt.

The department had not received any official strike notice, but had noticed that large numbers of the province's emergency medical and rescue service (EMRS) staff had been booked off sick since 30 January, said health spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi.

A group of disaffected EMRS staff had confronted Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo about issues of danger pay and overtime at a meeting in the Illembe district on Tuesday, he said.

"All these issue are being discussed at the bargaining council at a national level."

Mkhwanazi said the province could not negotiate separately from the rest of the country, and that all staff who had booked off sick would have to prove they were in fact ill, or they would face the consequences.

He said union representatives at the meeting had distanced themselves from the dissatisfied staff.

Democratic Alliance provincial health spokesperson Makhosazana Mdlalose said in a statement that Dhlomo needed to address employees' concerns.

"Workers approached the DA for assistance, maintaining that there is no union dedicated to them, and that they are yet to be advised which union the MEC is negotiating with on their behalf," he said.

He claimed that more than 60 EMRS staff downed tools over the weekend.

He said the health department had failed to honour a commitment made seven years ago to introduce danger pay and salary grading.

- SAPA
Read more on:    durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  health
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