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Nehawu to continue with planned protests over safety of healthcare workers

At least 24,000 healthcare workers had tested positive for the coronavirus in the country so far, and over 100 fatalities were recorded.

FILE: Nehawu members gather at the Montshioa Stadium in Mahikeng ahead of a protest march on 16 May 2018. Picture: EWN

DURBAN – The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) on Tuesday said it was forging ahead with plans to stage national protests amid an increase in the COVID-19 infection rate among frontline workers.

At least 24,000 health-care workers had tested positive for the coronavirus in the country so far, and over 100 fatalities were recorded.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said that the protection of health workers was a top priority for government but Nehawu claimed that government had failed its members.

Mkhize told Eyewitness News last week that he would soon be meeting with Nehawu and other labour unions in a bid to halt the threatened protest action.

Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba said that they would be going ahead with at least seven demonstrations scheduled nationally over the next two months because government had shown that health workers were on their own.

“The issue of the protection of our members has always been there since the outbreak of the virus, and all our pleas and demands have fallen on deaf ears,” Xaba said.

Nehawu said that their biggest concerns included poor compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as poor training of frontline workers in dealing with COVID-19.

The union said that a meeting was scheduled for Thursday with Mkhize, but they could not call off their protests yet as talks with government to address their issues had so far failed.

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