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Union to fight for community health workers

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The National Public Service Workers Union intends to approach the Labour Court and bargaining council regarding the low income earned by community health workers in the Northern Cape.

Salipswu provincial organiser Thapelo Thole, NPSWU deputy secretary Monica Bodumele and NPSWU provincial secretary Brian Moody. Picture: Sandi Kwon Hoo

THE NATIONAL Public Service Workers Union (NPSWU) intends to approach the Labour Court and bargaining council regarding the low income earned by community health workers (CHWs) in the Northern Cape.

Legal representative for the Department of Health, David Magoma said it was decided in the best interests of justice to withdraw an interdict against all unions and CHWs in the Province, who were charged in their personal capacity, in the Northern Cape High Court on March 25.

The interdicts were obtained last year following protest action at state health facilities regarding poor working conditions where health services were disrupted.

Magoma stated that the Department of Health had committed to engaging with all individuals and unions regarding labour-related issues.

NPSWU provincial secretary Brian Moody stated that CHWs in the Province were paid the least in the country.

“It is unfair that in Johannesburg CHWs are paid R10,000 per month while in the Northern Cape they only receive R3,700, while they are doing the same job.

“Unions that are not affiliated to the tripartite alliance are being held ransom due to strike action in Port Nolloth.”

He added that CHWs were still not receiving any benefits such as pension and medical aid.

“CHWs are earning below the breadline but are not entitled to claim social and study grants as they were issued with Persal numbers.”

Deputy secretary of NPSWU Monica Bodumele stated that despite CHWs being exposed to working in high-risk environments, they were not entitled to Covid-19 allowances.

“Many CHWs died during the lockdown, while their families have been left destitute.”

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