JOHANNESBURG, – The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) said on Monday that it was preparing for a strike at private healthcare group, Clinix, on a number of disputes including a demand for a nine percent salary increase across the board to a minimum monthly salary of R5,500.

The strike is set to begin on December 3 after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) awarded the union a certificate to strike last week.

The national union recently declared a dispute with the CCMA over the alleged unilateral change to conditions of employment after the employer implemented new job profiles over a period of time, allegedly without any form of consultation with the union. 

Zola Saphetha, Nehawu secretary, said their members and workers were now subjected to unfair performance assessments based on the new job profiles.

"This unilateral change to conditions of employment has led to added and extra responsibilities without any form of remuneration adjustments for workers. Our members and workers have been patient with the employer for far too long and the patience has now ran out hence they have elected to go on a strike action," Saphetha said.

"The 2018/19 salary negotiations have also deadlocked after the employer refused to concede to our reasonable and genuine demands. The employer has made it unequivocally clear that they are not willing to concede to our demands, notwithstanding the fact that the union has been accepting wage settlements below the sector market trends due to the financial challenges faced by the company over the past three years which led to retrenchments."

Clinix owns and manages six hospital facilities within Gauteng and the North West, with current plans in motion for the development and construction of the seventh hospital in Soweto. The group also plans to open its first Day Hospital in the centre of Johannesburg early in 2019. The group was not immediately available for comment.

Saphetha said Clinix received a financial boost late last year when over 30 percent of shares were bought by the Public Investment Commission (PIC) on behalf of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). 

African News Agency (ANA)