The Northern Cape Department of Health has confirmed that the strike by the Food Service Unit at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley has been suspended.
THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Health has confirmed that the strike by the Food Service Unit at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital (RMSH) in Kimberley has been suspended following engagements between the relevant stakeholders and the catering service provider.
Frustrated kitchen staff members downed tools early on Monday morning after receiving notices regarding their annual bonus, which was apparently between R200 to R300.
They were busy preparing breakfast when they downed tools.
Apparently, only infants were provided with milk in the morning while other patients, including pregnant women and those in ICU, went without meals.
Some of the patients received food from family members, while others were “sponsored” by kind-hearted nursing sisters.
The kitchen staff members returned to work in the afternoon, in time for supper, after management arrived in Kimberley and promised to address their grievances.
The MEC for Health, Maruping Lekwene, conducted an oversight visit on Tuesday, where he engaged provincial and hospital management for a detailed briefing on the matter.
At the time of publication, Numsa, the workers and the hospital were still locked in meetings and could thus not reveal the way forward.
According to the workers, the money that they received was far less than what they expected.
The workers said they had their last engagement with their employer, Tebo company from Johannesburg, on May 3, and they claim they were promised a 60% annual bonus.
The morning shift workers were joined by members of other shifts and they held a peaceful picket at the entrance of the hospital.
The acting regional secretary of Nehawu, Lerato Sithole, said that there was a standing agreement with the employer that the workers would receive a 60% annual bonus by June and the remaining 40% at the end of the year.
“If this is the 60% they received, how much will the 40% be?” asked Sithole.
Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lebogang Majaha said on Tuesday that hospital management intervened to ensure that patients received their meals.
“Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital is a tertiary hospital and continues to render specialist and subspecialist care to our people across the Province,” said Majaha.
“The MEC urged hospital management to deal with all pressing matters impacting on the delivery of health-care services at the hospital, as it has a direct and negative bearing on patients’ health.”
Video: Soraya Crowie