Mortuary strike rumours plague Durban
Durban - The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) expressed concern on Tuesday about rumours of a strike by pathologists and technicians at Durban mortuaries.
"Reports that grieving families are unable to secure the bodies of loved ones, that bodies are piling up awaiting autopsies, and that the gathering of forensic evidence could be affected, is deeply disturbing," HPCSA acting CEO Dr Kgosi Letlape said.
However, the KwaZulu-Natal health department and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) denied there was a strike.
"We haven't heard anything on a strike and we have not been consulted by any of the workers," said Nehawu provincial secretary Zola Saphetha.
KwaZulu-Natal health department spokesperson Chris Maxon said a small group of people were spreading rumours of a go-slow.
"It's very surprising that there are allegations of a strike, because the workers are unionised and we have not been approached by any union."
Maxon said there were workers who had presented notes claiming to be sick as part of a go-slow.
"We are investigating those claims," he said.
He said the department had met a small group of people concerned about not being paid for overtime work.
The HPCSA said while it understood workers' concerns about overtime pay, it wanted to remind workers they provided an essential service to the public.
"Health care practitioners need to conduct themselves in accordance with certain ethical and professional rules," said Letlape.
Inkatha Freedom Party health spokesperson Dr Usha Roopnarain said it was unacceptable for family members to wait for the bodies of their deceased relatives.
"The IFP believes it is blatantly clear that the department of health has failed to deal with and remedy the situation," said Roopnarain.