McCord staff snub board meeting

2013-09-24 00:00

EMPLOYEES of Durban’s McCord Hospital yesterday refused to attend a last-minute meeting called by the hospital board to discuss the total closure of the hospital.

Instead they opted to wait for the outcome of today’s court proceedings, after trade unions Nehawu and Denosa, representing hospital workers, applied to the Labour Court for an interdict barring the hospital board from retrenching workers and closing down the hospital.

Court proceedings could not get under way yesterday as Judge Edwin Molahlele was not available. He held a teleconference with the legal teams representing employees and employer, and agreed to hear the case today, despite it being a public holiday.

Over 300 workers waited patiently for the outcome outside court under the blistering sun along Anton Lembede Street.

The news that the employers had called for the meeting at the hospital was not received well by the toyi-toyiing employees.

“We do not want any last meeting” and “all of a sudden the board wants consultation, why now”, they shouted.

The employees’ legal team, led by William Mukhari SC, said they have cited the KZN Department of Health and the Treasury as respondents, as they want them to buy and operate the hospital.

“We have an agreement with the judge due to intense public interest on the matter that it should be heard on the public holiday,” he said.

Mukhari said Nehawu chose not to attend the meeting called by the employers pending the court outcome. He said they want the doors of the hospital to remain open. “We will fight that the workers should not be retrenched.”

Addressing workers back at the hospital, Nehawu provincial chairperson Thobile Nkosi said they saw no need to attend a last-minute meeting called by the board. She said there was an interim committee formed by all stakeholders to deal with issues at the hospital.

Nkosi said workers would fight in court for their future. “The struggle does not stop because it’s a public holiday,” she said.

The hospital’s medical manager, Dr Jay Mannie, told workers to continue attending to emergency cases.

The board’s legal team would not comment before the outcome of the court’s decision.

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