NEHAWU Is Forging Ahead With It's Community Healrthcare Workers National Strike
Tuesday November 10, 2020
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) is forging ahead with its planned Community Healthcare Workers national strike. The strike will commence tomorrow, the 11th November 2020 at 6am and will run indefinitely until the employer fully accedes to our demands.
The national union has been engaged in a process of balloting for the strike in all workplaces were CHWs operate since the 26th October 2020. We are elated to announce that the majority of our members voted in favour of the strike action and are highly motivated, as a result plans are in place to pull off a mother of all strikes against the National and Provincial Departments of Health until CHWs get what they deserve which is permanent employment and better working conditions. The strike comes due to the failure of the Health Departments both at national and in provinces to fully comply with Resolution 1 of 2018 which directs the department to engage with unions at the bargaining council on modalities for permanent absorption of Community Health Workers. On the 4th November 2020 the national union served the National Department of Health and all Provincial Departments of Health with a notice to strike for the Permanent appointment of Community Healthcare Workers across all Provinces.
The National Health Insurance (NHI) White Paper identifies Community Health Workers as part of the Ward Based Primary Health Care Teams for the successful implementation of the National Health Insurance, while in his address on the 15th October 2020 President Ramaphosa announced the employment of mere a 6000 community health care workers and nursing assistants over the next three years. Whereas in the 2019 Elections Manifesto, the African National Congress (ANC) committed itself to “absorb 50,000+ community health care workers in the public service”. They undertook to double the numbers in 5 years and deploy them in our villages, townships and informal settlements.
It is for these reasons that we demand for the immediate absorption of these cadres in order to serve the communities as they did when the country was grabbling with COVID-19 at the beginning of 2020. For years these workers have served our communities and rural areas with dedication sometimes working with no tools of trade. They brave both cold and warm weather to reach out to those who need medical help especially in working class and poor communities. During the hard lockdown they gallantly served the country with the mass screening and testing programme even though government did not do enough to protect them from contracting the coronavirus.
Over the years they have proven beyond reasonable doubt that our healthcare system cannot function without them. Furthermore, we will also mobilise Community Health Workers in the Western Cape to free them from the bondage of corporate denialism and deception of the DA-led administration which claims that it does not employ any CHWs.
NEHAWU is more than prepared to intensify the fight for the permanent absorption of all Community Health Workers with full employment benefits that are enjoyed by other public servants, like pension fund, medical aid benefits, housing allowance etc. Our members and workers can rest assured that they have a fighting union on their side. We will continue to wage a relentless war to protect the interest of all Community Health Workers against exploitative employers.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 082 455 2500 - email firstname.lastname@example.org