NHLS says contingency measures in place amid unlawful Nehawu strike

The strike by workers affiliated to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) was declared unlawful by the Labour Court.

Nehawu members protest outside the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) on 21 August 2020. Picture: Nehawu/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) on Tuesday said that it had put contingency measures in place amid the ongoing strike by workers.

The strike by workers affiliated to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) was declared unlawful by the Labour Court on Monday.

Workers are protesting against staff shortages and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), among other issues.

Nehawu was interdicted from continuing with its protests, which it had threatened to keep going indefinitely.

The union’s leaders were in talks all day, seemingly to figure out a way forward as they had threatened to have a national day of action.

The NHLS welcomed the Labour Court ruling, insisting that there was adequate PPE for all employees.

“The NHLS adheres to the laboratory operating standards. The staff working in the laboratory environment are required to adhere to biosafety level 2 and biosafety level 4 operating standards. The NHLS has provided adequate PPEs to all its employees. The NHLS adheres to all COVID-19 protocols and health guidelines,” said Mzi Gcukumana, the NHLS’ senior manager of communication in a statement.

The service said that it had put contingency plans in place to ensure continuity and they had roped in private and academic laboratories to assist with diagnostic testing.

“The NHLS has also engaged private and academic laboratories to assist with diagnostic testing. To this end, the NHLS has put together an essential test list which prioritises testing of the specimens,” Gcukumana said.

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