Durban - National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) members in KwaZulu-Natal say they want to get clear plans from Finance MEC Peggy Nkonyeni on how vacant posts will be filled in the public service in her mid-term budget statement.
The union members staged a lunchtime picket outside the KZN treasury offices in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, complaining about what they called the “unfair state of affairs” facing workers in the public service.
Nehawu KZN secretary Ayanda Zulu said they had noted with anger how their members were subjected to gruelling working conditions in government departments because some of the posts had not been filled.
According to Zulu, yesterday’s picket was part of commemorating the World Federation of Trade Unions and paying tribute to Moses Mabhida.
Zulu pointed to a list of grievances that they wanted attended to:
◆ Filling all vacant posts, especially in the health sector.
◆ Hiring all health-care workers who are working contract or for service providers
◆ Doing away with consultants. Zulu dismissed suggestions that the government did not have the money to fund some of its demands, including filling posts, and insisted it was using the money on non-pressing matters.
“We are saying KZN treasury should ensure that all posts are filled and we want to hear that from Finance MEC Peggy Nkonyeni when she presents her mid-term budget.
“As for this talk that there is no money, we know it is not true because we have seen the money spent by the Department of Health when dealing with litigation cases,” said Zulu.
According to Nehawu, the high level of outsourcing of services and the use of consultants was further indication that the Health Department had funds.
He insisted that some of the problems, especially in the Health Department, could be addressed if there were sufficient workers.
The secretary cited the problems at Fort Napier mortuary, where their members have complained of unbearable working conditions, with bodies reportedly piling up.
“This picket is a foretaste of things to come if our grievances are not attended to by the government. We hope that our pleas are heard and responded to because workers are suffering at the moment,” Zulu said.
He warned that workers were battling to make ends meet and would fight hard to ensure that their demands were met.
He indicated that today they would embark on a similar action at the offices of the KZN Department of Transport in Pinetown.
The provincial department of health had not commented by the time of publication.