COSATU Free State applauds workers at Free State Psychiatric Complex for refusing to perform dangerous work. Workers at the Free State Psychiatric Complex, where more than ten health care workers have tested positive for Covid-19, have taken a decision to refuse to perform dangerous work. This happened after the management led by the CEO refused to provide workers with a safe working environment. They refused to decontaminate buildings and to assess the workers who may have been exposed.
The CEO is alleged to have said that should the screening be done there will be no staff members to do the work at the institution so the workers should continue to work! This is a dereliction of duty and workers and patients’ lives are being compromised by this level of recklessness.
The Federation has been consistently complaining about the conduct of the CEO for quite some time to the Provincial Department of Health Head Office. The provincial Department of Health is failing the patients and workers.
COSATU Free State is adamant that the safety of workers is non-negotiable. The statement by the health spokesperson in the province that workers were engaged in mutiny by refusing to work in a dangerous environment is nonsensical and reckless.
The workers in FSPC are employed in terms of Labour Relations Act of 1995 and none of them should be subjected to martial law as they can never be classified as such. Workers’ rights have not been postponed and government bureaucrats should know this and refrain from spreading senseless conspiracies.
We implore the Department of health to reign in their ‘spin doctor’ noting the sensitivity of the situation and the impact of such irrational remarks on workers. The Department should deal with the challenge brought about by Covid-19 pandemic and stop engaging meaningless stunts and distractions.
The Department of Health needs to address the situation with immediate effect and allow those who were exposed to be screened and seek medical assistance. The workplace should be made safe for occupation.
We will work closely with our Affiliates DENOSA, NEHAWU, SAMATU and SAEPU, and other unions to ensure that all workers and patients are safe.
We will not allow anyone to run down the institution particularly not in the face of the pandemic!
The struggle continues!
Issued by COSATU Free State
Enquiries Provincial Secretary Monyatso oa Mahlatsi @ 051 447 5499 or 076 115 9923