Worker Action at Chri Hani-Baragwanath Hospital

Tuesday 15 February 2005 by Dale


On Wednesday 16 February 2005 at 12h00 at the main ambulance and mobile visitors’ gate on Old Potchefstroom Road, the workers of Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital will gather outside the gate and then march to the administration building inside the hospital. They will be marching to deliver a petition signed by more than 300 workers to the hospital management. To publicise their struggle and raise public awareness of the wrongs taking place in this hospital, the biggest in the southern hemisphere, they request the press to cover their action.

The workers are frustrated because of the following issues:

1. The management of Chris Hani Baragwanath is a shambles. There is a huge staff shortage in all departments and sections e.g. nursing staff is 35% short, pharmacists 80%, support staff 27% short, management 40%, etc. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing with no lines of communication at ward level between administrative, medical and support staff functions. Shortages also relate to equipment. Budget cuts by the provincial government have left this hospital unable to provide a decent health care service. This is unjust to poor people who cannot afford private health care which no doubt the Minister of Health, the Bara management and other big shots in authority can afford. 2. The management recently conducted an internal evaluation of all workers tied to a pay incentive. This is called the Performance Management System. The whole process was totally messed up by mismanagement, misinformation, nepotism, favouritism and sheer incompetence on the part of managers and supervisors. For example, the main kitchen staff of 90 workers had only 5 workers qualifying for a pay incentive. Some supervisors were instructed to give workers a certain evaluation by management without conducting any evaluation at all. Friends and lackeys of supervisors got pay incentives while hard-working workers got nothing. Shop stewards also received the money in order to keep them quiet. Bribery of worker representatives is an attack on worker rights. 3. As a result of the above 2 points, and a host of other injustices taking place at this hospital workers are totally demoralized. This has a direct impact on their productivity and ability to serve patients and provide a decent service.

The workers are organized into 4 different unions but have chosen to take action without the sanction of their unions because the union leaders and worker representatives have failed miserably to address these issues, in particular, the pay incentive matter.

The workers at this hospital are not the only ones dissatisfied. Communities who use the services of the hospital are also unhappy because of the very poor service, bordering on the criminal, that they receive at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Enough is enough!

We demand a living wage, a fair system of evaluation and payment incentives for all hard working workers. We demand the right to provide a decent public health care system.

For further information please contact: Thabo Modisane 0720444610 OR Zodwa or Tshidi at 933-8000 Extension: main kitchen

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