Workers demand increase

2016-06-29 06:00

THE board of the Boikhuco Old-Age Centre in Bochabela, Bloemfontein, is set to again face off with disgruntled workers in a meeting today (29/06) to discuss a wage increase, as well as a range of issues which triggered a protest by workers on Monday (27/06).

The parties held an urgent meeting on Monday after workers had unexpectedly taken to the streets to protest for an increase of R700 for all employees, as well as to voice their concern over a range of issues.

The majority of the workers, who are married men and women, could not hide their frustration about having worked for over six years while earning below R5 000 monthly. They revealed that they currently earned R2 000, which after deductions amounted to R1 400.

“This is slavery wage, because we are unable to make ends meet or provide for our families and ourselves,” said one worker.

Express has reliably learnt that negotiation over wages had been pending before the protest on Monday. The staff of 59 employees, cleaning supervisors, drivers and nurses had left about 80 permanent residents (mostly aged, receiving a state grant) unattended for the better part of the day on Monday.

The protest on Monday had been triggered by alleged ill-treatment by centre manager Christian Mosala. The workers expressed their utter disgust about the alleged ill-treatment, accompanied by a spiteful remark of them being “zero nurses in white shirts” which had allegedly been made.

The workers bitterly lamented the fact that the centre employed three retired nurses, who were older than 60 years and has had to fetch water with 20 F and 25 F containers in the event of the water supply being cut.

Fed-up workers downed tools early on Monday morning to embark on the strike, which the board management had declared illegal. The board issued an ultimatum that the workers return to work on Monday before 15:00 and threatened with further legal action.

British Khoarai, chairperson of the board, said the board would meet on Tuesday (05/07) to address the demands and grievances of the workers once submitted.

As for allegations of ill-treatment by the manager, he said the board would first have to conduct an investigation. He said human resources had asked the workers and their representatives to submit grievances after the meeting on Monday.

“Thus far, the board is very happy with the performance of Mosala, who is an employee at the centre,” said Khoarai.

He said the board had made big progress regarding salary negotiations in the past years.

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