The employees have also slammed the Northern Cape Substance Abuse Treatment Centre over employment conditions.
WORKERS at the Northern Cape Substance Abuse Treatment Centre embarked on pickets this week over grievances regarding their employment contracts, as well as employment conditions.
The centre employees picketed during their lunch hour, calling for improved working conditions.
The workers slammed the Northern Cape Department of Social Development for not appointing them on a permanent basis, despite the fact that they have been working at the centre for over three years.
“We are still under probation and have not signed permanent employment contracts after three years. We have completed the necessary training in order for us to do the work, which was in line with the requirements of getting permanent contracts. We have, however, not been offered permanent contracts by management. The probation period is supposed to only be 12 months, yet we are given the run-around when we raise the matter,” they said.
The employees complained further that the department wants to appoint a new group of workers at the centre, while allegedly ignoring the current employees’ grievances.
“There is supposed to be a new intake of employees, who are supposed to start work this week. We have placed that intake on a halt as the department and management first needs to address our grievances. We cannot continue to pretend that all is fine and that we are happy with the conditions we are faced with,” the workers said.
The workers also accused management of not complying with the legislative requirements when placing patients.
“The management has not followed the right protocol of placing patients. During the last two admissions, minor and under-age patients were placed in the same wards. According to legislation, adults and minors are not to be placed in the same wards. That was, however, not regarded with the last two intakes of the patients,” they said.
Employees further accused management of “victimising” them when they raised matters regarding “employment challenges”.
“We do not have transportation to and from work. We have to make use of public transport, which drops us off at the Gariep hospital. We then have to walk the distance from Gariep hospital to the centre on a daily basis. It is only the shift workers who are provided with transportation,” they said.
“Employees who have tested positive for Covid-19 are threatened to not reveal their results to their colleagues and are forced to work. Management does not take the dangers that the current pandemic has on our lives into consideration. We must just continue to work despite these problems,” they said.
Department spokesperson Gamiem Abrahams said on Wednesday that management and the employees were in a meeting addressing the issues.
“The department can confirm that some employees at the centre were picketing. The issues raised by the employees are currently being attended to by management. Further details will be communicated after the conclusion of the engagement,” said Abrahams.