Health ‘snubs’ nurses’ court order

2011-09-28 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Health Department has snubbed a court order to reinstate more than 1 000 nurses who were dismissed for participating in an unprotected strike demanding rural allowance in February 2007.

A spokesperson for the nurses, Ksaselihle Dladla, said they won the case in the labour court last month, and the department was ordered to reinstate them on August 18.

“We have been out of work for about five years now. We have lost insurance policies and homes in the process. The department was ordered to reinstate each employee with no loss of salary or benefits with effect from Febuary 2, 2007.

“The department was also ordered to pay the cost of this application. When we reported on duty as per the court order, our former employer refused to reinstate us and let us resume our duties without any further explanation,” said Dladla.

He said this move implies that the department is above the law, because the circular number 22 of 2004, with reference S3/1/5, ordered the department to pay rural allowance to all nurses, except student nurses, provi­ded they work in rural hospitals.

“The department ignored that order. In 2006 the Public Health and Welfare Sectoral Bargaining Council (PHWSBC) also ordered the department to pay rural allowance to enrolled nurses and enrolled nursing auxiliaries in rural areas, and this too was ignored.”

Dlala said after the unprotected strike the department setup a tribunal to probe the nurses.

He said the tribunal recommended all the 1 106 nurses be reinstated under certain conditions.

Of the nurses, 720 were to be reinstated with final written warnings, 365 were found not guilty, while 43 were to be reinstated but remain under suspension pending further disciplinary proceedings.

Dladla said this order was also not followed.

Health spokesperson Chris Maxon said the department was not snubbing the court order, but that the department was not present during court proceedings.

“This is a default judgment and the department is in the process of challenging it,” said Maxon.

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