NATIONAL Health Laboratory Services staff at Port Shepstone Regional Hospital picketed outside the hospital yesterday morning. They said they were participating in a national “protected strike” by NHLS employees. Among the demands submitted to the employer was a 13% salary increase, danger allowance and the implementation of a proficiency assessment in their key performance assessment. Employees said they would remain on strike until their demands were met. “We are sorry that this strike might affect patients, but this is the only tool we can use as workers to put pressure on the employer,” said Public Servants Association of South Africa shop steward, Sibongile Pheko.“We started with the negotiations in February, but until now our demands have not been met. This just goes to show how arrogant the employer is. We know we are generating money for the company, therefore we cannot accept that the company cannot afford to meet our demands,” said Pheko.