limpopo thumb100 News24 reports that seven trade unions in the health sector in Limpopo have accused authorities of reneging on an agreement over the new duty roster system and have resolved to resume strike action.

The initial intention to strike was suspended earlier in March to allow for talks with authorities. But, at a media briefing in Polokwane on Friday, the unions indicated that the date for the strike would be announced at a march by workers to the offices of the premier and the health department. According to Jacob Molepo of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa), unions have suspended all talks with health authorities until the head of department, Dr Thokozani Mhlongo, is removed from her position. Mhlongo is accused of "deliberately" misleading Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba and the unions in respect of the new duty roster to be designed by line managers at each provincial facility. They are also demanding the removal of deputy director-general for healthcare services, Dr M Dombo. The unions have adopted a resolution to encourage workers – including nurses and doctors – not to respond to any emergencies when on lunch. The rationale is that the lunch hour is not included in the working hours under the new duty roster. The workers will also disregard any instruction to work when off duty, "to avoid accusations of looting from the departmental budget as outlined by the HOD during her media conference". Health authorities have indicated that they are willing to continue discussions with the unions. A provincial health spokesperson said the department expected all employees to honour their obligations or face the consequences, within the law, for their actions.


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