Forensic pathology workers, supported by paramedics, marched through the Durban CBD to deliver a complaint to the CCMA. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/ANA Pictures

Mortuary workers have lodged a complaint against trade unions, accusing them of selling out by signing a collective agreement, without proper consultation or a mandate from members.

Some of the state forensic pathology workers, who signed the complaint, marched through the Durban CBD on Monday supported by paramedics and other Department of Health staff.

Among the group of about 100 marchers, were  EMS workers from Gauteng.

The complaint to the CCMA relates to the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council resolution, signed by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), National Health Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa), National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) and Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA), almost three weeks ago. 

The complaint gives one month's notice of termination of the resolution, claiming it is unlawful as it changes the conditions of employment without a mandate from the workers. Chief among their grievances relate to working hours, danger allowance and salary grading.

Addressing the marchers outside the city hall, axed paramedic turned union man, Sifiso Dlamini, said they had evidence that there was no consultation with workers. 

He said they had written to MEC of Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, who had shown a willingness to have their grievances resolved and it was the unions who stood in the way. 

This was rejected by unions, who accused Dlamini of misleading workers. Hospersa’s provincial secretary, Popson Kunene, said unions did not sign agreements without consulting members.

“That is a fallacy spread by opportunistic people trying to open their own trade union which will serve their own narrow interests.”

He said what gave Dlamini and his union – Public Service and Allied Workers Union (Psawu) – a false sense of legitimacy, was that the Department of Health had engaged with them on worker issues whereas they were not party to collective bargaining.

Claude Naicker, provincial manager at the PSA, agreed, saying Psawu was not admitted to the bargaining council, which was the only forum on which workers' demands could be negotiated.

“He (Dlamini) is just trying to gain popularity and garner some support from members, said Naicker.

But he was leading them down the wrong path said Mfanufikile Nkosi, provincial secretary for Nupsaw.

“That union is not even registered with the Department of Labour. He is just raising the expectations of members but will end up leading them into the bush.”

The Mercury