Agency hired striking staff to break strike, court hears

2015-02-11 20:43

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Durban - Striking provincial government nurses were hired by a personnel agency and supplied to the KwaZulu-Natal health department to keep hospitals operating, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban heard on Wednesday.

Jacobus Johannes Brits, the department's manager for accounts payable and expenditure control, told the court that striking nurses from hospitals as far away as Empangeni were employed by recruitment agency Ambition24.

They were sent to Durban's Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital to replace workers striking at that hospital in August 2010.

Ambition24 is taking the department to court to demand payment of R636 000 from the department.

It invoiced the department R1.6m for staff placed at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital. The department however withheld R636 000, for its striking staff moonlighting.

"Hospitals and community centres had insufficient staff," Brits said.

In desperation hospital managers turned to Ambition24 in a bid to keep their institutions operational.

He said the department received an invoice from Ambition24, which detailed the staff who were placed at the various institutions.

The department's chief financial officer Mdoda Biyela instructed that the names and identity numbers of Ambition24's staff be checked against the department's personnel records.

This revealed the department was paying Ambition 24 to hire its own staff.

Brits said staff needed to seek permission from the head of department to do other work not in conflict with their work for the department.

The case continues.

Read more on:    durban  |  strikes  |  health

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