South African court orders medical staff to end strike
The South African Labour Appeal Court has ordered striking state healthcare employees to cease a week-long walkout that has disrupted services in some of the country’s major hospitals.
The Health Department stated that the court’s order on Monday will aid in stabilizing services at the impacted hospitals. Workers on strike have been told to report to work by Tuesday morning, it stated.
Health Minister of South Africa Joe Phaahla stated that the strike has hampered the delivery of crucial healthcare services in the nation, causing tremendous hardship and frustration among the masses who sorely required medical care and life-saving treatment.
Members of the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) have been on strike since last week after pay negotiations with the government tumbled down.
A low level of participation from nursing and administrative support workers, according to the health department, has hampered clinical operations.
At a press conference, the Health Minister said that the labour relations act forbids employees of critical services from going on strike since doing so would harm healthcare services and put lives in danger.
“No amount of lawsuit or intimidation by the government will distract us from this honorable cause that we have embarked on,” the union said in a statement on Sunday.
The demand from the government to end the dispute, according to NEHAWU leader Zola Saphetha, “is another demonstration of how far the government is prepared to undermine and collapse collective bargaining and the dispute resolution mechanism by imposing their will on workers,” she said at a news conference.