A little drama played out at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto on Tuesday, November 22, after striking health workers forced the cancellation of elective surgeries at the institution.
As a result of the strike action, patients were turned away and only one emergency theatre was operational.
The health workers, who are affiliated with the Public Servants Association and the NEHAWU, are striking over a wage increase dispute. Whereas the workers wanted a 10 percent increase, the government is only offering 3 percent pensionable funds and 4.5 percent non-pensionable funds.
The offer didn’t sit well with the workers, so they are making their grievances known by striking. The hospital and local authorities are already expecting trouble and have managed to get an interdict stopping the striking workers from interfering with access to the hospitals. The interdict was secured by the Gauteng Department of Health (GDOH).
For those who might not know what the interdict implies, the Gauteng Department of Health (GDOH) spokesperson, Motalatale Modiba, spelled it out when he said that the interdict was with “immediate effect and prevents striking public servants from assaulting, threatening, intimidating and inciting violence in respect to any employee or staff members across our health facilities.”
From the look of things, the workers aren’t prepared to listen to that yet.