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Former Wits SRC President Mcebo Dlamini. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Doctors ready to go on strike despite threats of dismissal

By Kingdom Mabuza and Zinhle Mapumulo | May 26, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

STATE doctors are set to go ahead with their strike over wages on Friday and are not intimidated by threats of dismissals.

STATE doctors are set to go ahead with their strike over wages on Friday and are not intimidated by threats of dismissals.

Chairperson of the South African Registrars Association Dr Lebogang Phahladira said yesterday that it was not the "wish of doctors to abandon patients" but the attitude of the government in addressing their salary dispute had pushed them to the limit.

He said that in 2007 when civil servants took to the streets doctors remained in hospitals because of their commitment to serve.

"We pushed patients on stretchers between wards, we had hope on the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) aimed at overhauling the remuneration structure inherited from the apartheid system," said Phahladira.

He said doctors were further annoyed at the government's insistence that there were no funds to back-pay them.

"This new salary structure was supposed to have been implemented in June 2008, but the employer has tabled a proposal document at the bargaining chambers, and we were told budgetary constraints threaten the nine months back-pay owed to us."

He said members of the doctors union, the SA Medical Association, had overwhelmingly called for industrial action to force the government to agree on the 50percent increase.

Meanwhile, nurses at municipal clinics are still on strike and patients continue to suffer. This is despite the disciplinary action threat issued by the City of Johannesburg last Thursday.

The municipality vowed to take disciplinary action against nurses who continued to turn patients away from its clinics. It also said it would not hesitate to get a court interdict if the need arose.

Municipal nurses have stopped attending to the sick as part of their strike action. They embarked on a "go-slow" earlier this month, demanding a salary increase and better working conditions. The situation worsened two weeks ago when city clinics instructed patients to go to provincial clinics.

City of Johannesburg executive director Rafik Bismilla said most clinics were fully operational by yesterday.


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