Nehawu members march to Parliament over 'appallingly unsafe working conditions’
Cape Town - Scores of National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) members gathered outside Parliament as part of the union’s nationwide day of action, protesting over “appallingly unsafe working conditions” their members worked in.
The protest came two days after the national memorial day and other various programmes the union has embarked on, on its commitment to defend and protect its members and workers against Covid-19.
Nehawu was also set to deliver its memorandum to the provincial legislature, but the police stopped them in their tracks.
The union demands that workplaces should ensure full compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and ensure risk assessments and infection control and the immediate establishment of health committees in all workplaces.
It wants the Department of Health to issue a circular prohibiting institutional managers from preventing workers from going into quarantine if they believed they had been exposed to the virus, whether at home or in the workplace.
The union also called on the department to mandate the daily screening of healthcare workers and that it must roll-out a national testing programme of non-communicable diseases, as it said many of the front line workers lived with underlying diseases without being aware.
Provincial secretary Eric Kweleta said they provincial office bearers deployed in regions to do workplace visits and assessments found that working environments were appalling and that most of the employees failed to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
President Mzwandile Makwayiba said from March at least 100 of its members had been killed by Covid-19, adding that the majority of these fatalities would not have happened if there was no negligence as far as personal protective equipment is concerned.
The union has given the president seven days to respond “favourable” to their demands and failing which the union would embark on a total shutdown from September 10.
Deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli who received the memorandum said it will reach the President.