Child welfare workers picket offices
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Durban - Durban and District Child Welfare staff picketed outside the organisation’s offices yesterday, demanding better wages and working conditions and calling for the executive director to quit.
A strike leader, who asked that her identity be withheld for fear of being victimised, said staff were being exploited by the organisation and that funds were being used on non-essentials while salaries were kept low.
Staff said working conditions were poor and they were overworked and underpaid.
“We have no job descriptions. Auxiliary workers have to do the work of social workers and sometimes even management,” said an unnamed striker.
The workers accused the management of being inefficient, unsympathetic and communicating poorly. They demanded executive director, Mariza Kitching, step down.
“Down with Kitching. She doesn’t know anything about the poor, she doesn’t know that we go beyond the call of duty for our clients, and then she informs us that our 13th cheque is cancelled via e-mail yesterday,” said the strike leader.
The protesters appealed to the government to step in.
They said the organisation was the biggest of its sort in Durban, but had only 64 employees, who were expected to service an overwhelming number of clients.
“We need a way forward because we are the biggest child welfare, but we are the most disorganised. The government needs to intervene because people’s lives are at stake here,” said the strike leader.
Kitching said she would not comment on the strikers’ demands and claims in detail.
“We are unaware of the root cause of this strike because correct procedures by the unions have not been followed. So right now, we have a case of an illegal stoppage of work,” said Kitching.
Negotiations between management and union members were under way.