RNs - South Africa

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Tribunal orders that nurses be reinstated

Sipho Khumalo, The Mercury, April 16, 2007 A tribunal set up to hear the case of 728 nurses who were dismissed as a result of their participation in a strike earlier this year has recommended that they all be reinstated under certain conditions. The nurses, from several hospitals in the province, were fired after participating in a strike, from January 22 to February 2, that was declared illegal by the department of health. However, a tribunal was constituted by Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni after she was approached by the unions to have the cases of the dismissed nurses heard individually. During the investigations it emerged that 1 106 nurses had been involved and the tribunal heard all these cases. ... Tribunal

Fired nurses back at work

Sapa, April 13, 2007 KwaZulu-Natal nurses who were dismissed two months ago for taking part in an unprotected strike have been reinstated, SABC news reported on Friday. Speaking after a sitting of an independent tribunal in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni said 365 nurses out of the 1000 who were dismissed would resume their duties on Monday. Some of the remaining 708 nurses would be given warnings while others would receive final warnings. Forty four would face disciplinary proceedings. The health department and trade unions instituted the tribunal to allow nurses to state their cases. ... Fired

Unions slate DA over nurses' pay

Xolani Mbanjwa, Pretoria News, April 13, 2007 Health workers' unions have slammed the Democratic Alliance for trying to score political points on the thorny issue of nurses' salaries. The DA on Thursday blasted the government's salary proposals for nurses. DA health spokesperson Gareth Morgan blamed the government for reneging on its promises by proposing to remove nurses from public service salary scales and setting up scales particular to their profession. Morgan said that the government's proposal "has simply redistributed money between salary levels and punished senior nurses in order to make small salary improvements to lower-level nurses" rather than looking to find money elsewhere to improve nurses' salaries. ... Unions

Nurses' union take their case to court

Xoliswa Zulu, Mercury, April 4, 2007 The Health and Other Services Personnel Union of South Africa (Hospersa) will apply for an urgent interdict to stop the tribunals investigating the dismissals of 728 nurses in KwaZulu-Natal from continuing with their work. The nurses were fired from KwaZulu-Natal hospitals almost two months ago for embarking on an illegal strike over allowances for rural work and scarce skills. The tribunals had been set up by the health department to investigate the dismissals, as well as allegations that many nurses had been intimidated into participating in the strike. Hospersa spokesperson Noel Desfontaines said the hearings had found that some nurses who had been dismissed had been on maternity, sick or annual leave at the time of the strike and should not have been fired. ... Nurses

Tribunal to probe axing of 728 KwaZulu nurses

Edward West, Business Day, February 20, 2007 Durban - KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Neliswa Nkonyeni has given the tribunal she appointed on Friday at least two months to investigate the provincial health department’s dismissal of 728 nurses for an alleged unlawful strike. The sacking of the nurses who went on strike from January 22 to February 2 in protest against not receiving rural allowances has led to a public outcry in the province, with fears of inadequate delivery of services to rural communities. Nkonyeni appointed three advocates - Edward Ngubane, Comfort Ngidi and Larry Seethal - to the tribunal. Terms of reference have been agreed and the tribunal will conduct its investigations in nine hospitals in the province, with hearings to start soon. ... Tribunal

Call to reinstate fired nurses

SAPA, February 16, 2007 Johannesburg - KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni has been asked to reinstate 700 nurses fired after taking part in an unprotected strike last month over payment of special and scarce skills allowances backdated to July 2003. The call was made by the KwaZulu-Natal nurses' committee, reported the SABC news. The provincial health department has denied that the dismissals have caused a critical shortage of nurses in some of the nine hospital affected. Nkonyeni said student nurses had been recruited. ... Call

KZN nurse committee stands behind axed nurses

SABC News, February 16, 2007
The KwaZulu-Natal Nurses Committee has called on Peggy Nkonyeni, the provincial health MEC, to reinstate nurses who were fired two weeks ago after taking part in an illegal strike. More than 700 nurses were fired for taking part in an unprotected strike last month. The committee organised the nurses to embark on the industrial action. They demanded the payment of special and rural allowances. Makhehla Mnyandu, the committee spokesperson, says many hospitals are in a crisis because of the shortage of nurses. Copyright © 2000 - 2007 SABC

Eastern Cape rejects axed KZN nurses

SABC News, February 14, 2007 The Eastern Cape health department said it will not employ the nurses who participated in the illegal industrial action in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this month. The KwaZulu-Natal department of health fired 728 nurses who participated in the 10-day unprotected strike where nurses demanded payment of rural allowances. Sizwe Kupelo, the Eastern Cape heath department spokesperson, said they have warned managers in their province not to consider the applications of nurses involved in the strike. ... Eastern

Two Joburg hospitals hit by vacancy and staff HIV crisis

Jillian Green, Johannesburg Star, February 13, 2007 One in seven nurses at two Johannesburg hospitals - Coronation and Helen Joseph - is HIV-positive. This is according to the results of a study published in the latest edition of the South African Medical Journal. Now, Dr Olive Shisana, the president of the Human Sciences Research Council, has urged the national Department of Health "to treat these findings as an emergency and act decisively". The study, which puts the overall prevalence of HIV among healthcare workers at the two state hospitals at 11,5%, showed that student nurses had the highest prevalence, 13,8%, while qualified nurses came in a close second with prevalence rates of 13,7%. In comparison, medical doctors at the hospital had an HIV prevalence of 2%. ... Two

Sacking of striking nurses to be probed

Xoliswa Zulu, Mercury, February 12, 2007 Trade unions have welcomed the KwaZulu-Natal health department's decision to set up a tribunal to investigate the sacking of 728 nurses and allegations made by some of the nurses. The tribunal, which will start its work on Monday, is expected to report its findings in the next two months. The nurses embarked on an illegal strike more than two weeks ago, demanding scarce skills and rural allowances. They were given an ultimatum to return to work within 12 hours on February 2, or risk losing their jobs. However, many nurses continued with the strike, whereupon the department fired them. ... Sacking

Nation in dire need of nurses has no business sacking them

Business Report, February 9, 2007 Stupid. Foolish. Completely out of touch with reality. These were some of the comments made by unionised nurses following the sacking last week of 728 of their colleagues in KwaZulu-Natal. The action of the provincial health authorities has triggered argument, not just in trade unions organising nurses, but in the whole movement. It has also thrust into the limelight, again, the question of the use and abuse of essential service provisions. Any workers in a service designated by the government as essential may not strike. Yet, as unions continue to point out, the strike is, in the final analysis, the only weapon workers have. Without it they are at the mercy of the employers. ... Nation

Committee blamed for misleading nurses

Stephanie Saville, Mercury, February 8, 2007 Registered unions on Friday slammed the KZN nurses committee for its role in an illegal strike at hospitals, which led to more than 700 nurses being fired on Friday. The nurses had gone on strike across the province over the payment of rural allowances and scarce skills allowances. However, the committee, an informal structure whose members belong to registered unions, has denied that the nurses had been on strike, saying that they were merely "protesting and picketing". ... Committee

Fired nurses could get jobs back

Mbongeni Zondi, Daily News, February 8, 2007 The 720 nurses recently dismissed for going on an illegal and unprotected strike, may get their jobs back if they make a convincing case before a tribunal. KwaZulu-Natal Health Minister Peggy Nkonyeni took the decision after meeting labour unions in Pietermaritzburg yesterday. She criticised the KZN Nursing Committee which led the strike and said it was not a recognised worker representative. The dismissed staff nurses were demanding to be paid the rural, scarce skills, and in-hospitable allowances which they do not qualify for in terms of the department policy. ... Fired

Scramble to fill nursing posts

Stephanie Saville & Xoliswa Zulu, Mercury, February 7, 2007 The Health Department is considering enlisting the help of the SA National Defence Force's Medical Corps to help fill the gaps created by the dismissal of more than 700 nurses at hospitals in the province. Health spokesperson Leon Mbangwa said the department had already enlisted student nurses from nursing colleges. In addition, the Medical Corps, which had well-trained nurses, could also be approached to assist. Mbangwa added that qualified nurses looking for jobs should apply for vacant posts now available in the department, indicating that the dismissals were unlikely to be rescinded en masse. ... Scramble

Fired KZN nurses want to go to court

SABC News, February 7, 2007
The nurses dismissed by the KwaZulu-Natal health department last week after an illegal 10-day strike say they will take the matter to court. The department and nurses unions, Nehawu and Denosa, are meeting in Pietermaritzburg to discuss the issue. More than 700 nurses were dismissed last week from six hospitals in the province. The health department says it does not recognise the KwaZulu-Natal Nurses Committee which led the illegal strike. Lolo Ngubane, the spokesperson for the committee, says the nurses should not have been dismissed as a group, but each case should be treated on its own merit. Copyright © 2000 - 2007 SABC.

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