Eastern Cape talks to striking paramedics

2012-11-22 10:46
 (File, Sapa)

(File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Eastern Cape health department said on Wednesday it was hopeful striking paramedics would soon return to work.

Spokesperson Siyanda Manana said the department earlier held talks with workers' representatives.

"They have agreed to go back and engage with their members and persuade them to return to work," said Manana.

The strike was prompted by issues relating to overtime, performance bonuses, salaries and discrepancies in salaries.

"The main issue was the performance management and development system, and we are addressing it and looking into paying out the benefits."

Manana said some of the workers had not been paid this money since 2006.

By Wednesday afternoon, the department reported that the strike had mostly affected the Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Mthatha and Mathole municipalities.

Meanwhile, the SA Communist Party in the province called on the department to speedily resolve the matter.

"This has a direct... [effect] on the public health system and therefore harbours a huge potential of compromising the health of the ordinary people in the province, as many of the workers and the poor... rely on public healthcare system," said spokesman Siyabonga Mdodi.

The party also criticised the provincial health department for using private ambulance companies.

"This action by the department will do nothing but plunge both the department of health and the provincial government in[to] more financial problems," said Mdodi.

The provincial health department recently received 60 new ambulances from the national department of health.

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