Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency (ANA)
Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency (ANA)

Picket to be held at Soweto hospital for 'unprotected' workers, unifying health system

By IOL reporter Time of article published Apr 30, 2020

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Symbolic protests will be held outside the Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto and other clinics on Friday in support of millions of workers in South Africa who don’t have personal protective equipment, while highlighting other health services' demands.

On May Day, recognised as International Workers Day worldwide, mindful of social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic, trade union representatives and a group of frontline healthcare workers will be gathering outside the hospital, a host of unions said in a statement on Thursday.

They will not only be demanding personal protective equipment for all frontline health workers, but that community healthcare workers be permanently employed by the state. 

"We will demand the unification of the public and private health systems to sure everyone in South Africa has equal access to health services at this critical time," they said.

In the joint campaign on personal protective equipment, they will be highlighting slogans such as "You Can’t Mask the Grave Health Hazards We Face!"; "Personal Protective Equipment It’s a fundamental Workers and Human Right!"; "We demand PPE for the Safety of all Health and Care Workers and the Safety of the Communities they serve!"; and "May Day, May Day, May Day: SOS Save Our Service."

The picket is organised by the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers Union (Nupsaw), the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU), the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Demawusa), National Union of Care Workers of South Africa (Nucwosa), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), and the C19 Peoples Coalition Workers Rights Working Group.

"On May the 1st, we recognise workers from Chicago who fought for an eight-hour workday. The global pandemic of Covid-19 has changed how we organise and the world is at pause," they added in a statement.

A statement will be released at the picket and appear online at noon on Friday at


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