Workers at the Kimberley Mental Health Hospital staged a picket on Monday morning where a memorandum was handed over regarding poor working conditions.
WORKERS at the Kimberley Mental Health Hospital staged a picket on Monday morning where a memorandum was handed over regarding poor working conditions.
Workers have threatened to embark on a full blown strike where they intend shutting down the R31 road, if their demands have not been responded to within the next 14 days.
Representative for the workers, Eric Thage, stated that the R2 billion hospital that was officially opened in September 2019, had an occupancy rate of about 38 percent.
“The Kimberley Mental Health Hospital will also be utilised to admit Covid-19 patients. Workers are not happy that they will be expected to care for infected patients. They were employed as psychiatric workers and not Covid-19 patients and were not trained to work with infected patients.”
He indicated that 12 workers employed at the hospital had contracted Covid-19 so far.
“Workers are charged or disciplined if they refuse to work with Covid-19 patients despite the fact that they will be placed at a greater risk of contracting the virus.”
The memorandum requested that all workers should be subjected to Covid-19 testing on a monthly basis and that units should be closed down in the event of infections.
“Currently areas are fumigated and closed for five hours before re-opening.”
Workers are also demanding the insourcing of security and kitchen staff, bonus pay, progression of staff, as well as the provision of payslips.
According to Thage, they want overtime payment and night duties to be paid backdated from October 2018 to June 2020, the filling of vacant posts and the procurement of essential machines such as blood pressure machines, glucometers, thermometers and haemoglobin metres.
Thage stated that there was only one blood pressure machine for the whole hospital.
“Staff are here over weekends, public holidays and Sundays without overtime pay, we are not volunteers. All staff working with psychiatric patients, including cleaning and security should be entitled to danger allowances.”
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Lebogang Majaha, said they would study the contents of the memorandum and respond within the next 14 days.