Health unions serve strike notice on Limpopo health department over working conditions

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Limpopo health unions want to protest working conditions.
Limpopo health unions want to protest working conditions.
Getty Images
  • Seven trade unions have indicated they will go on strike at health facilities in Limpopo next week.
  • The Limpopo Health Department has described the move by the unions as "bullying".
  • The department said the changes it made were because too much of its budget was being spent on wages and overtime payments.

Seven trade unions in the health sector in Limpopo have served a joint notice of intention to strike over what they say is the unilateral change of working conditions of nurses and other healthcare workers.

Limpopo Health Department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana has confirmed receipt of the notice served on Friday.

The seven unions include the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa), and the Public Servants' Association (PSA).

READ | Lockdown: More booze sale hours, bigger gatherings allowed as SA goes to Level 1

In the notice, the unions indicated the strike – to be preceded by lunch hour pickets – will commence next week across all health facilities in the province. Personnel who will embark on the strike also include paramedics and other related workers.

The unions have already been issued a certificate of non-resolution of the dispute by the public health and social development sectoral bargaining council.

But provincial health’s head of department Dr Thokozani Mhlongo on Monday described the unions’ intention to strike as “bullying”.

She said the unions, in a meeting late last year, demanded that authorities first withdraw the proposal of changing the working conditions before they could enter into any discussions.

READ | SA becomes first country to use J&J vaccine

“The department disagreed with labour unions on this because it felt that it was tantamount to bullying the management on matters that it has the full prerogative to decide,” Mhlongo said.

She said the decision to change working conditions was premised on financial constraints as 70% of the budget was spent on salaries and overtime for employees.

“In 2017 and 2018, the budget for overtime in this department was just over R800 million. As at the end of the 2019/20 financial year, the overtime expenditure was at more than R900 million.

“There is adequate budget within this overtime amount to employ so many of the young people who are unemployed out there because many of the much-needed posts could be filled or the money could be used to fix our infrastructure or procure medicine and ambulances,” Mhlongo said.

She indicated that authorities were still willing to engage the unions.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Are you going to keep wearing a mask following the announcement that it is no longer required under law?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No ways, I'm done
41% - 2615 votes
Yes, I still want to be cautious
21% - 1323 votes
Only certain circumstances
38% - 2380 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.80
+1.1%
Rand - Pound
19.39
+0.0%
Rand - Euro
16.68
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.97
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.0%
Gold
1,827.37
0.0%
Silver
21.15
0.0%
Palladium
1,880.50
0.0%
Platinum
911.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
113.12
+2.7%
Top 40
59,993
+1.6%
All Share
66,349
+1.6%
Resource 10
64,422
-0.2%
Industrial 25
76,590
+2.6%
Financial 15
15,623
+1.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE