Today's Labour News

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protestGroundUp reports that dozens of paramedics and community health workers marched on Thursday to the Western Cape Department of Health in Cape Town to protest against what they claimed were long hours and dangerous working conditions.  

The National Public Service Workers’ Union (Npswu) organised the march.  The union’s David Rayters claimed that the health department overworked paramedics and indicated as follows:  “The Basic Conditions of Employment Act says no worker is permitted to work for more 45 hours per week, but paramedics work 60 hours per week.  Workers don’t have ample time to spend with their families.”  This point was made in a memorandum handed over to John Barends, Acting Director of Labour Relations, who said they would assess the complaints at the appropriate level and deal with them.  The memorandum also claimed that the department sent paramedics to dangerous areas without considering their safety.  But Western Cape policy is that emergency workers be escorted into red zone areas by police.  The union also said that outsourcing of health work to NGOs caused community health workers to earn low salaries “close or equivalent to SASSA grants”.

  • The full original of Vincent Lali’s report on the march is at GroundUp

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