Tribunal lets bullied nurses off the hook

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Only nurses who were found not guilty for taking part in a KwaZulu-Natal illegal strike action will be paid for the period they were fired.

This announcement was made last week by a tribunal led by the provincial health department. The tribunal found that some of the dismissed nurses were engaged in the strike action because of "serious intimidation".

The tribunal found that of the 1106 cases, 365 nurses were not guilty of participating in an illegal strike. It recommended that they be reinstated and be paid for the months they were not on duty.

About 720 nurses that were found to have been involved in the strike will be reinstated, but they will be given final written warnings and be subjected to disciplinary hearings.

The provincial head of the health department, Busi Nyembezi, said some of the nurses were on sick leave at the time, some were off duty and some missed the ultimatum to return to work but had proof they had tried to return but were locked out.

All affected nurses are expected to report to their respective hospitals today where a categorised list of names would be displayed.

The nurses were dismissed for taking part in an unlawful strike from January 22 to February 2 this year. The hospitals that were affected are: Ngwelezane, Benedictine, Lower Umfolozi, Umphumulo, Ntunjambili, Appelsbosch, GJ Crookes, Edendale and Prince Mshiyeni Memorial.