Nehawu to go ahead with pickets on Monday

Nehawu to go ahead with pickets on Monday

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) will continue with its planned strike to highlight the plight of healthcare workers.

Image Courtesy: Sinethemba Madolo

Nehawu’s decision to continue with rolling protests comes in spite of a meeting between unions and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Sunday.

The union is unhappy with the government’s refusal to increase public servants’ salaries and a failure to offer adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the battle against coronavirus.

The planned pickets by Nehawu on Monday and Tuesday comes ahead of a full-blown strike set for September 10.

In a statement on Sunday, Mkhize said no healthcare worker should be exposed to Covid-19 by working in an environment without adequate training, protection and support, including the availability of PPEs.

Mkhize assured unions that the availability of PPEs would be monitored daily in all facilities.

"To ensure that parties engage on the same basis, unions will have direct access to information contained in the department’s web-based dashboard and digital stock visibility system.

“This will enable unions, together with management, to conduct daily audits at facility level. It will easily allow for tracking of granular details such as sizes available, quantity and evidence of quality assurance.”

The Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA), which also met with Mkhize, has described the meeting as “fruitful”.

"There was an acknowledgement from the minister's office that certain issues need to be addressed to ensure that health workers need to be protected at all time," says the union’s Jannie Oosthuizen.

"All healthcare workers in all provinces will have access to the psychological support that they need, the minister assured us that there will be enough.”

Nehawu 'willing to accept consequences' for healthcare pickets

Saphetha said the union decided to go ahead with the pickets after the collapse of talks with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. "It was to give the department an opportunity to respond to the fact-finding report with the view to fix the shortcomings covered in the report.

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