Strike talks go on

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

It is now only half-a-percent that stands between the more than 700 Medscheme workers and their employer as the strike over wages enters its fifth day today.

The strike began on Monday after wage talks deadlocked on January 15.

On Wednesday both Medscheme and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) tried to offer compromise proposals but could not reach a consensus.

The initial demand from Nehawu was a 15 percent wage increase while Medscheme was offering five percent.

"We reduced our demand to eight percent but the employer can only settle for 7,5 percent, so the strike continues," said Vusi Mabizela, Nehawu's national organiser.

The strike involves members in Gauteng, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

"Our revised offer is already outside our approved budget and we believe it is a reasonable offer to our employees," said Lee Callakoppen, Medscheme's executive director.

Callakoppen said they would continue talks with the union to establish common ground.

Bafana Nkosi, the principal executive officer of Bonitas Medical Aid, which is administered by Medscheme, said they were affected by the strike "but not severely".

"Only our daily systems have been affected but not our emergency claims."