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Unions say progress made amid go-slow at Durban mortuary

The department threatened to fire the workers after they went on a go-slow, but the unions opposed this, insisting workers had legitimate demands.

Fridge in a mortuary. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

DURBAN - Allied workers unions Pawusa and Nehawu said talks with the Kwazulu-Natal Health Department over the impasse at the Gale Street Mortuary are starting to yield results.

However, it is not yet clear if staff will be allowed back to work after being locked out for over a week.

The department threatened to fire the workers after they went on a go-slow, but the unions opposed this, insisting workers had legitimate demands.

Over the past few months, workers at Durban’s Gale Street Mortuary have staged protests over issues involving overtime and demands for improved working conditions.

Some families have had to postpone funerals as autopsies were not completed in time.

Nehawu’s Ayanda Zulu said they’ve made headway with the department.

“The issue was discussed, and we’ve negotiated with the department. Workers will come in tomorrow.”

Halalisani Gumede of Pawusa said they encouraged workers to go back to their posts in the meantime.

“The tools that workers need is still a problem and staff shortages persist.”

Head of the health department Sandile Tshabalala refused to say if the doors will be open when workers try to clock in on Wednesday.

However, he said members of the public who wish to use the facility would not be affected by the impasse.

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