EDENDALE Hospital employees affiliated with National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) have threatened to shut down the hospital if the Department of Health does not respond to their demands. The employees; including orderlies, messengers, porters and cleaners; are currently on a go-slow. They say that they are fed-up with the hospital and the department ignoring their demands. They told Echo that their main issues relate to salaries and work uniforms. The employees claim that they are currently earning a level two salary, which is less than R10 000 a month, instead of a level three salary. They also claim that they last received uniforms from the department in 2010.“In 2011 we earned level three salaries but, after six months, we were told by management that this was a mistake and that we must pay back all that extra money that we got, which we did. We then started earning a level two salary, which we are still earning today. We consulted with our unions and we were told that we actually need to be earning a level three salary but the employer is refusing to give us that. “Employees at other government hospitals who are doing the same job as us are earning a level three salary, but not us. Why?“The employer has made empty promises. We went as far as embarking on a strike about two months ago but still nothing was done,” said an employee who did not want to be named.Nehawu branch secretary Sbusiso Gwamanda said the employees are angry and they want answers from the department. He said they have been engaging with hospital management for some time but they have not yet reached any agreement. He said in August they submitted a memorandum to the hospital, and they were promised that they would get answers in November, but nothing has been forthcoming. “We have tried to solve these issues in the boardroom for long enough now. We are tired and the employees are tired. If nothing happens before next week, we are going to shut down the whole hospital. We are going to make it ungovernable until our demands are met,” said Gwamanda. Gwamanda added that employees are forced to buy uniforms from their own pockets instead of the department supplying them.“They are earning peanuts and, on top of that, they are expected to buy uniforms with their own money. It is unfair to them and it must stop now,” he said. “They promised us answers in November but no one bothered to tell us that they do not have answers for us. We had to go back to them and ask what was happening and they told us that they submitted the proposal and are waiting for it to be signed at head office. From August until today they are waiting for a signature? We have tried everything but they are failing,” he said.KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi said the department is unaware of a go-slow at the hospital. “ However, the orderlies have expressed some issues, which are being dealt with by senior management at head office. Unions were updated last week Wednesday on the progress of issues raised,” she said.