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Nehawu to picket next week to highlight healthcare workers' COVID-19 plight

Nehawu said that not enough was being done to protect its members during the COVID-19 outbreak and if their issues were not addressed soon, then it would embark on a full strike next month.

FILE: Protesting Nehawu members. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Workers' union Nehawu has announced that it will hold a picket next week as part of its national programme of action to raise awareness around the plight of healthcare workers.

The union held a briefing in Braamfontein on Thursday afternoon.

It comes after its inspection of the work conditions of healthcare employees across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nehawu said that not enough was being done to protect its members and if their issues were not addressed soon, then it would embark on a full strike next month.

The union said that they had met with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize recently but the meeting failed to yield any positive results.

Nehawu said that it would use the strike at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) to launch what it called a national programme of action from Friday.

The union’s general secretary Zola Saphetha said that they could not sit back and watch their members die while battling the pandemic. He said that they were disappointed that the talks with the Department of Health did not produce any viable solutions.

“Indeed, all workers are under siege by intransigent and reckless employers which led to the perpetual rising in the numbers of infections with the novel coronavirus. The outcomes of our fact-finding report mission and the notice convened have painted a bleak picture in relation to the health and safety of our workers,” Saphetha said.

Nehawu said it would hold demonstrations on 3 September and hand over a memorandum to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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