Emergency workers vow to halt services

The South African Emergency Personnel Union in Limpopo has threatened to bring emergency services to a halt during the Easter holidays right up to the World Cup tournament.

Saepu is unhappy about the Department of Health and Social Development failing to pay its members for overtime work.

The union said workers had been subjected to working abnormal hours, which was in contravention of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

The act stipulates that workers must do at least 160 hours a month, while the union claimed its members were working 173 hours.

It further claimed that its members were forced to later forfeit the 13 hours without payment being made to them.

Union president Mpho Mpogeng said yesterday several meetings had been held with the department since last year but had not yielded positive results.

Now they had resolved to boycott extra work being done during the Easter holidays and even during the World Cup scheduled to begin in June.

Mpogeng said a memo was signed in July last year regarding the matter but its contents were never implemented.

"We are worried that the department is actually taking us for a ride since it keeps on promising but failing to deliver."

He said another concern was that their members' salary notches were "extremely" low. The matter had been raised without any success.

"What is happening to our members is pure daylight robbery and we cannot tolerate it," Mpogeng said.

He said the union had told its members to stop compromising immediately since doing so would have a negative effect on their wellbeing.

"We advised our members who are on day-offs not to compromise about the standbys because their efforts end up not being appreciated.

"We will continue doing so until our demands had been met," Mpogeng said.

Departmental spokesperson Selby Makgotho said they were aware of the problems and that those matters were receiving their attention.