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Retirement centre staff on go-slow

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One worker said that in the 11 years she has been employed at the retirement centre she has seen no change in her work conditions

dissatisfaction: Employees at Minerva Gardens Retirement Centre have started a go-slow until next week Monday due to their dissatisfaction over employee rights. Picture: Danie van der Lith

MORE than 30 employees at Minerva Gardens Retirement Centre have embarked on a go-slow to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with management and an alleged lack of employee rights.

The workers yesterday gathered on the premises and vowed that they would embark on a go-slow until Monday, which would be extended further if their concerns were not addressed.

The employees yesterday accused management of imposing harsh work conditions with little pay. They added that they also did not get any benefits.

“We are working with sick, frail and elderly people on a daily basis. We love what we do, however, the conditions under which we work are making it very hard for us. The cost of living is expensive and we do not receive any benefits.

“We have to work with sickly people without any protective gear, like gloves or masks. We are exposed to all kinds of ailments, yet management does not want us to get sick or even take off when we are sick. We produce a letter from the clinic when we are booked off sick but they do not recognise that. We do not have, nor can we afford medical aid with the salaries we are earning.”

The employees added that not everyone was treated equally, even though they do the same work.

“We are not paid the same salary. You will find that one gets paid more than the other but they do the same work. If the manager likes you, he will pay a little extra. He also makes it clear that you should not tell your colleagues about the extra payment you receive. That is unfair as we are all trying to make a living for our families and we are faced with the same challenges.”

They said employee rewards, like annual bonuses, are simply a pipe dream to them.

“We have not received bonuses for many years. The last time we received an increase was two years back. We got a measly increase of R100 and R200. That did not even make any difference in our lives. We have to spend R40 to come to work each day but get paid a salary of R2 400. How can anyone be expected to survive on that kind of money?

“We have raised our concerns over the years but it seems like they fall on deaf ears. We are treated like slaves but are expected to deliver a royal experience to the elderly staying here.”

One worker said that in the 11 years she has been employed at the retirement centre she has seen no change in her work conditions.

“I have been working here for 11 years and the conditions have remained the same. We have not received any bonuses or increases over the years. Our weekend and holiday allowances were also done away with,” she said.

“We have complained over the years and just do not know who to turn to any more. It is frustrating to think that one is employed in a dead-end job and when you retire one day you will have nothing to show for all the years that you have worked. We are employed at this centre but will never have enough money to stay in a place like this and be cared for when we retire,” she added.

The workers said they would continue with their go-slow until Monday and might carry on indefinitely should management not report back on their grievances.

Management did not want to comment on the matter.