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It's 50% or strike, docs

By unknown | May 12, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

State doctors are this morning expected to warn government to t "accede to our demands or face a strike" that could cripple South Africa's hospitals.

Doctors have told their union, the South African Medical Association (Sama), to reject the government's latest offer of a five percent salary increase when negotiations resume at the bargaining chamber today.

They started picketing during lunch hour yesterday to register their dissatisfaction about the five percent increase offered during the first round of talks on April 23.

Sowetan understands that doctors at Tembisa, Jubilee and George Mukhari hospitals and in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal had called for the lunch-hour protests.

Sama's chairperson for public sector doctors, Prof Mac Lukhele, told Sowetan yesterday that doctors would "only settle for something as close as possible to a 50percent increase".

"Obviously members were angry that the government proposal was low, and as Sama we understand their frustration."

He declined to comment on the ultimatum that Sama members want conveyed to government.

According to a Sama member who preferred not to be identified, the doctors instructed Sama representatives to give the government an ultimatum for a salary increase of 50percent by the end of the month or they would stop working.

Messages left by Sowetan for Health Department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe were not returned.

Doctors went on an illegal strike last month but returned to work when the government entered into negotiations two week ago.

The government also issued warning letters against striking doctors.


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