Medics threaten strike over deal

STATE doctors could be heading for another strike after two unions signed a revised wage increase offer allegedly behind their backs.

South African Registrars Association (Sara) president Lebogang Phahladira said yesterday the "secret deal" was signed on Friday by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) and the government.

"We have learned with dismay that the two unions signed the offer. This means that the long-awaited occupation specific dispensation (OSD) will be implemented despite concerns raised by Sara.

"We believe that OSD is about lives and careers and that the struggles of doctors will be negated by this boardroom deal," said Phahladira.

Denosa said it was surprised by Sara's reaction.

"We were mandated by the South African Medical Association to sign the deal tabled by government.

"As far as I know Sara is part of Sama. The issue must have been discussed between them before we were told to sign," said Denosa spokesperson Letsatsi Modise.

He, however, admitted that there were concerns raised by Sama regarding compensation of senior staff.

"The bargaining council and government agreed that the concerns were valid but resolved they would be addressed before April next year," Modise said.

But Phahladira said the special resolution was very vague and empty. "Specialist and medical officers will have to wait for April 2010 despite initial promises of July 2008."

He said doctors were very angry and Sara could not rule out another strike.

"Should members of Sara and doctors in general embark on an industrial action, we will be available to lead."

The increases are effective from month end.