Unhappy medicos reject new pay offer

DOCTORS have rejected the Health Department's salary increase offer and will continue with their strike.

DOCTORS have rejected the Health Department's salary increase offer and will continue with their strike.

Doctors yesterday continued to toyi-toyi outside the King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban.

The strike over pay and working conditions started in KwaZulu-Natal four days ago and has crippled public health institutions in key urban centres including Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Motsoaledi tabled an offer which he hoped would end the three months of intense strike action that has crippled healthcare at government hospitals.

His latest revised offer includes an increase of between 31percent and 53percent for junior doctors and interns, with lower grades of personnel getting the biggest boost as part of the Occupation Specific Dispensation allowance.

While Cosatu welcomed the offer announced by Motsoaledi on Wednesday, the striking doctors in KwaZulu-Natal have rejected it, vowing not to return until a better offer was put on the table.

One of the striking doctors Shailenpra Sham, a senior surgical registrar at the King Edward VIII Hospital, said the minister went behind the unions and bargaining chamber and announced the offer in the media without consulting the bargaining chamber.

Sham said the "figures on the offer are designed to lie to the public that the government was actually offering a higher increase, but when doing simple maths the offer is just peanuts and an insult to the medical profession".

Meanwhile, principal pharmacist at King Edward Hospital Rohini Maharaj said she had been working at the hospital for 10 years but earns R177000 a year.

"Those like me at entry level receive R94000 a year. Our job is considered a scarce skill. The hospital has seven pharmacists and in the ARV section alone we deal with 2500 patients a day."

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