Department warns its employees against participation in an illegal and unprotected strike
The North West Department of Health has reflected on incidents of intimidation, blocking entrances to health facilities and damage to property that took place across the Province yesterday and has continued in some areas this morning. The Department views these acts as criminality as they take place because of an illegal strike organized by NEHAWU. This view is informed by the fact that NEHAWU is operating outside the ambit of the Law as it has not met all the legal and labour requirements for a strike. It is now public knowledge that on the 24 February 2023, the DPSA received a notice to strike from NEHAWU, in terms of Section 64 (1) (d) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, indicating their intention to embark on strike on 6 March 2023.
However, the Counsel advised that the strike notice was unlawful hence the DPSA approached the Labour Court on an urgent basis to set aside the strike notice. The Labour Court further ordered that the strike notice issued by NEHAWU is set aside; and that the intended strike action, picket or any other form of industrial action planned by NEHAWU to commence on 6 March 2023 is interdicted. While NEHAWU applied for leave to appeal the Labour Court order delivered on 4 March 2023 interdicting their intended strike and informed its members that the strike would go ahead as the lodging of an appeal would suspend the Labour Court Order the DPSA approached the Court to seek an order to execute the Labour Court order issued on 4 March 2023.
On 6 March 2023, the Labour Court granted the DPSA an order to execute the Labour Court Order issued on 4 March 2023. This therefore means that the strike by NEHAWU remains interdicted and any form of work stoppages and pickets by NEHAWU and its members will be tantamount to contempt of court and will be managed as such. North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha has expressed disappointment over blockages of health facilities and intimidation of both patients and staff members. “We know that health care is an essential service, sometimes a matter of life and death.
To have patients being restricted from access health services is irresponsible and dangerous to the lives of our people. I am therefore calling all our employees to be responsible and refuse to participate in any illegal and unprotected strike. All employees participating in this illegal strike will leave the Department with no option but to take decisive disciplinary actions”, said MEC Sambatha. The MEC further calls on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to intervene swiftly when acts of violence and intimidations are reported to them to ensure safety and security of employees, patients and state properties.
Source: Government of South Africa