PE doctors back at work

2009-07-01 14:10

Johannesburg - Striking doctors in Port Elizabeth returned to their posts on Wednesday after the provincial health department was granted an interdict compelling them to do so or face disciplinary action.

Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said all doctors in Port Elizabeth returned to work. There were however some doctors in Mthatha and Transkei who defied the court order.

The interdict was granted by the Port Elizabeth Labour Court and compelled doctors who embarked on a "wildcat strike" to return to work immediately.

"... [they] face disciplinary action which could lead to them being dismissed," he said.

The no work no pay principle has already come into play, since the strike started last week.

Kupelo commended doctors in East London and in many rural areas for not participating in the illegal industrial action.

"... we commend them for that... despite the difficulties they face they did not join their colleagues and did not compromise the health of our people," he said.

Those who remained on strike were mainly junior doctors from Port Elizabeth and Mthatha.

On Tuesday, provincial health MEC Phumulo Masualle met striking doctors in Port Elizabeth, where he promised to address their grievances.

However, he added they should return to work pending the outcome of pay talks in Pretoria. Later on Tuesday the government presented a revised pay offer to health workers. It was being presented to union members for their approval.