Medscheme workers to strike

2011-07-05 14:20

National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) members who work for Medscheme are getting ready to strike over a wage dispute, the union said today.

“This follows the failure of the two parties to resolve their dispute because of the employer’s intransigent attitude and their total disregard for both their employees and the members of the medical schemes,” spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said in a statement.

Nehawu started negotiations with Medscheme in April.

Workers first demanded a 12% `early increase, a minimum salary of R8 500, an incentive cover across all occupations and a once-off payment of R800 to cover medical aid inflation, Pamla said.

Medscheme responded with a 4.5% increase and a minimum salary of R7 700, but had failed to move on any of the issues that were on the table.

“Instead, the employer started to develop a strike contingency plan and attempted to terminate the recognition agreement as a way of sabotaging the negotiations,” he said.

Nehawu was now demanding a 7% increase across the board, a minimum salary of R8 000, incentive cover for all occupations and a R550 medical inflation cover.

Medscheme’s final offer was a performance-based wage increase of 4.25% to 7%, a minimum salary of R8 000, and R550 medical aid inflation cover.

Pamla said Nehawu members had rejected the latest offer because it did not take into consideration inflation, which rose to 4.6% in April.

Economists were predicting it would be above 6% by the end of December.

The other issue was that the wage increase offer was not performance based.

“Our members, irrespective of their performance range, are equally affected by the economic realities,” Pamla said.

“Besides, Medscheme has other processes that are used to incentives for performance.”

Nehawu hoped that an amicable settlement could still be achieved through the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, he said.
Medscheme said it needed time to review the matter and would comment tomorrow.

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