Durban - At noon on Thursday, staff at the Magwaza Maphalala (Gale) Street state mortuary in Durban decided they were not returning to work until something was done about the reinstatement of an allegedly abusive manager.
Joining them were employees from the Phoenix and Pinetown medico- legal mortuaries.
A mortuary employee said he had worked with the former manager before and had clashed with her a few times.
“Working with her wasn’t easy.
“She didn’t get along with workers and once she even abused a deceased’s family member.
“She doesn’t know how to work with others and the community,” he claimed.
The man said the manager once tracked down workers who were ill and handed them notices for skipping work.
He said former Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo had said the manager would never work there again.
The employee also complained that there was more work than manpower and that they worked under difficult conditions.
“They’ve closed overtime, therefore we can’t call on others to assist us,” he said.
Earlier this month mortuary staff downed tools over the same issue.
The Public and Allied Workers’ Union (Pawusa) met with the provincial health department, which said it would hold off on the woman’s reinstatement.
A follow-up meeting was scuppered by the death of a former MEC.
Pawusa chairperson Halalisani Gumede said they were now forced to mobilise workers in the province because the woman’s reinstatement was a direct attack on workers. Gumede said the department’s intention was to bring back the manager and her roster, which they felt was wrong because they were not consulted.
“Yesterday (Wedneday) morning we found out that she’s coming back and workers are not happy because there are allegations that they’ll restore the roster she had come up with,” Gumede said.
He said the woman’s roster overworked their members - they worked long hours and got little rest, as compared to their current roster, which was more accommodating.
“Even the backlogs in processing bodies are caused by shortages.
“The department needs to fill posts.
“We compromise, but the department doesn’t,” said Gumede.
He said the Magwaza Maphalala mortuary was short of at least 20 workers, while Phoenix, Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg mortuaries were short of at least 15 employees each.”