nehawu80Sunday Independent reports that according to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), health professionals at the forefront of the government’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic have been forced to buy their own personal protective equipment (PPE).  

This claim was made by general secretary Zola Saphetha in an affidavit filed at the Labour Court in Johannesburg.  “Nehawu is aware that in many of the health facilities, employees, especially doctors and nurses supplement the inadequate government-issued PPE with PPE procured at (their) own cost,” Saphetha averred.  The union has taken Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi and the nine provincial health MECs to the Labour Court on an urgent basis to meaningfully engage with it on measures to mitigate the risk of infection to employees, measures taken to date and plans or measures to ensure that workers were provided with PPE where required.  Pending meaningful engagement and the court’s final order, the union wants its members who are required to be issued with PPE not to be compelled to work without it and not to be threatened or subjected to disciplinary action for refusing to work without the appropriate PPE.  The matter has been set down for Tuesday, but might have to be heard telephonically.  The National Union of Metalworkers of SA on Saturday threw its weight behind Nehawu’s fight for PPE.

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