Tuesday, 07 August 2018
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) would like to warn both government in many provinces and the public about the looming chaos in hospitals and clinics if many provinces continue to prolong the non-payment of Uniform Allowance to nurses, which should have been paid in April this year already.
DENOSA would particularly like to remind the Gauteng Department of Health that it is not long ago that chaos erupted at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital over non-payment of bonuses. It looks like the unrest at the hospital has not been a lesson to the department, just as Life Esidimeni disaster was never a lesson for them to have learnt from.
Uniform Allowance was long agreed upon and is a collective bargaining agreement. Each year, however, government continues to drag its feet in implementing this on the 1st of April until nurses either come to work wearing pyjamas or embark on a protest action because they are tired of wearing torn uniform.
DENOSA raised this issue sharply at the South African Human Rights Commission dialogue on balancing the rights or health workers to strike with the right of patients to healthcare that was held early in July, and warned that failure to disrespect this collective agreement by the employer is often the cause of chaos and strikes in many facilities. DENOSA made an example of the current delayed non-payment of Uniform Allowance and warned that this will see nurses pitching to work wearing pyjamas or staging protests if it is not addressed soon.
DENOSA would like to applaud provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, and Western Cape for having paid the Uniform Allowance, because nurses in these provinces previously had to embark on a protest. It looks like previous experience has taught them a lesson.
Because nurses are classified as essential service workers, beside the fact that government does not show this as the employer in its actions, they are required to wear uniform. Up to date, nurses uniform has not been provided, let alone as a pilot, despite the country’s Nursing Strategy of 2011-2017 having promised that this would be done by now.
Furthermore, DENOSA reported to the SAHRC that the employer is still reluctant to sign the Minimum Service Level Agreement which will regulate the minimum staffing levels in wards for nurses in times of strike when their right to collective bargaining, like timeous payment of Uniform Allowance, is undermined by the employer.
It’s not even that this allowance pays for the full ‘uniform’ of nurses, because it is a fraction of what government should actually be paying towards nurses’ real, full complement and quality uniform.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)
For more information and comment, contact:
Cassim Lekhoathi, DENOSA Acting General Secretary
Mobile: 082 328 9671
Simon Hlungwani, DENOSA President
Mobile: 082 328 9635
Facebook: DENOSA National Page