Pawusa halts planned mortuary strike after meeting with KZN Health Dept

Last Thursday, workers downed tools at the Magwaza Maphalala Street Mortuary following the return of a manager.

FILE: Fridge in a mortuary. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

DURBAN - The Public and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Pawusa) has halted its planned strike in KwaZulu-Natal following negotiations with the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department.

Last Thursday, workers downed tools at the Magwaza Maphalala Street Mortuary following the return of a manager.

Workers criticised her, calling for her removal but the provincial Health Department would not budge and threatened court action against striking workers.

The KZN Health Department said last week's strike at the mortuary delayed the completion of six autopsies.

KZN Health Mec Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu reprimanded the striking workers, saying they should express their grievances through the proper channels.

The manager was suspended in 2016 after they complained about her leadership style.

The department said it had cleared the manager of any wrongdoing.

Pawusa met with the department on Monday and expressed displeasure about how the matter was handled.

Provincial secretary Halalisani Gumede said: “It is proven from the meeting today that the department is not doing any investigation. If there was any investigation being done, they were also going to give us a report.”

Gumede said the union would hold its mooted province-wide strike as the department had promised to look into the workers' grievances.