Roster dispute: Trade unions encourage health workers not to attend to emergencies during lunch

accreditation
The unions have also adopted a resolution to encourage workers not to respond to any emergencies when on lunch. (Guillem Sartorio/AFP)
The unions have also adopted a resolution to encourage workers not to respond to any emergencies when on lunch. (Guillem Sartorio/AFP)
  • Trade unions in Limpopo's health sector resolved to resume striking over a new duty roster system.
  • Unions adopted a resolution to encourage workers not to respond to any emergencies when on lunch.
  • The rationale behind this is that the lunch hour is not included in the working hours.

Seven trade unions in the health sector in Limpopo have resolved to resume strike action, accusing authorities of reneging on an agreement over the new duty roster system.

The intention to strike was, at first, suspended early in March this year, to allow for talks with authorities. But, at a media briefing in Polokwane on Friday, the unions indicated the date for the strike will be announced at a march by workers to the offices of the premier and the health department.

Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA secretary, Jacob Molepo, said unions have suspended all talks with health authorities until the head of department, Dr Thokozani Mhlongo, is removed from her position.

Mhlongo is accused of "deliberately" misleading Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba and the unions with regard to the new duty roster to be designed by line managers at each provincial facility.

READ | Clear guidance needed on large-scale vaccine arrivals, says Western Cape health MEC

They are also demanding the removal of deputy director-general for healthcare services, Dr M Dombo.

Molepo said line managers were threatened with disciplinary action if they drafted their own shift rosters, instead of implementing centralised ones.

"We learnt with dismay that some of our critical resolutions from the consultative meetings were deliberately omitted from the two circulars, which includes the resolution on designing of duty roster by line managers.

"... we never agreed to any form of a shift roster because we were informed that such cannot be drafted from a central point of the head office of the health department," Molepo said.

READ HERE | SA's vaccination timeline unrealistic, health experts warn

The unions have also adopted a resolution to encourage workers - including nurses and doctors - not to respond to any emergencies when on lunch.

The rationale is that the lunch hour is not included in the working hours under the new duty roster. The unions also resolved that workers would disregard any instruction to work when off duty, "to avoid accusations of looting from the departmental budget as outlined by the HOD during her media conference".

Health authorities have indicated that they are willing to continue discussions with the unions.

Provincial health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said: "You obviously know that the officials of the department are neither employed or removed based on how the unions feel or resolve about them."

He said the department expected all employees to honour their obligations or face the consequences, within the law, for their actions.


Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.

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
42% - 2534 votes
Yes, I still want to be cautious
21% - 1282 votes
Only certain circumstances
38% - 2290 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