Health workers ‘forced’ to take leave during lockdown

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Johannesburg – Cosatu-affiliated unions continue to take the government to task over the treatment of public servants working to fight the coronavirus pandemic during the national lockdown.

SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has accused municipalities of forcing its members to take annual leave while others are forced to work overtime, without compensation.

Samwu general secretary Koena Ramotlou said municipalities countrywide were forcing their employees to apply for leave, as they would not be on duty for almost a month.

Ramotlou said the union would fight against the move, as it considered it to be illegal.

“We once again reiterate our call that municipal workers should refuse to sign any leave forms.

“They should not allow themselves to be bullied or coerced into signing any leave form,” he said.

Ramotlou said Samwu would also be fighting for compensation of overtime for those working as part of essential service in municipalities.

“Workers have further reported that there has been no communication or commitment by the employer on how or when these employees would be remunerated for the extra hours worked.

“The failure by municipalities to communicate with employees not only demoralises workers, but will definitely result in workers simply refusing to work outside their working hours which are set out in their employment contracts,” he said.

Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the labour federation was alarmed by the rising number of health-care workers infected with Covid-19.

This comes after Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that of the 66 people infected by the coronavirus at Durban’s St Augustine Hospital, 48 were health-care workers.

Political Bureau

By Siviwe Feketha


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