Pretoria - Some nurses in Gauteng have vowed to continue reporting for duty without wearing their uniforms.
The nurses have been instructed by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa), which is embroiled in a dispute with the Gauteng Department of Health.
At the centre of the dispute is the four-month delay to pay a uniform allowance to its members.
Denosa provincial chairperson Simphiwe Gada said the department hardly ever “respected” the agreement entered into by the two parties.
He said it always delayed paying allowance to nurses unless they did something drastic - like pitching for work without wearing uniform.
Gada said the department had been given until Monday to pay allowances.
He said unlike other essential service workers in the public service such as police and soldiers, who were provided with full, quality uniforms annually, this was not the case with the nurses.
Even when the allowance was paid, it was still not enough and nurses had to dig into their pockets to top it up, according to Gada.
The money, he said, should be paid to them at the beginning of each financial year, in April.
“The deadline came and passed and no payment was received. So, from July 3, members of Denosa within the Gauteng Department of Health are not wearing this thing anymore.
“Since 2005, they are given a uniform allowance which is not more than R2900.
They are expected to buy something that looks like uniform.
“Frankly, this amount is not enough to buy even a single, full-complement and quality uniform for them, including a shirt/blouse, trousers/skirts, socks, jersey/top and shoes.
“For them to buy all this, they often have to top it up with their own money. Many nurses work 12-hour shifts - often from 7am to 7pm - and they are still expected to report the following day in clean uniform.”
In August last year, the nurses embarked on a similar protest and stopped wearing “torn uniforms”. They reported for work in civvies at the time.
“This was after days, weeks and months of pushing and shoving by Denosa at the bargaining council, as was the case in other provinces, for the allowance to be paid.
“This matter should not even be referred to the bargaining council; it has long been resolved. What is left is a mere implementation by the department,” Gada added.
Health Department spokesperson Philani Mhlungu said he could not comment last night as he had not received feedback from the relevant people.