News24

Committee warns against more strikes

2010-08-25 17:12

Johannesburg – The portfolio committee on health in Gauteng pleaded with unions on Wednesday not to embark on a strike in solidarity with public servants.

"The threat by Cosatu to organise a secondary strike will add a blow to the current volatile situation; especially in our health institutions," said committee chairperson Molebatsi Bopape.

She said people's lives should take precedence over any other issue.

"In Gauteng hospitals alone we have seen babies left unattended and patients dying due to the strike," she said in a statement which called for a speedy resolution to the mass action.

The SANDF increased its support to hospitals countrywide on Wednesday as a public service strike entered its eighth day.

Spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said that the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) would help out at 42 hospitals on Wednesday, eight more than on Tuesday.

Multi-disciplinary medical teams

"After consolidation of the latest information, the SAMHS is currently deploying multi-disciplinary medical teams to 42 hospitals," said Dlamini.

"Depending on the request (for help), a medical team may consists of doctors, nurses and emergency health care practitioners.

"The SAMHS is also deploying personnel to assist with the cleaning of the hospitals."

About 2 400 soldiers have been deployed at state hospitals for the past few days.

Striking health workers were demanding an 8.6% salary increase and a R1 000 a month housing allowance.

They have rejected the government's offer of a seven percent increase and R700 allowance.

Eleven state hospitals in Gauteng, four hospitals in North West, five in KwaZulu-Natal, three in the Eastern Cape, six in Limpopo, seven in Mpumalanga and six in the Free State were receiving military assistance.