Nurses boycott rages on

STUDENTS at Mmabatho College of Nursing in North West are still boycotting classes despite an agreement they had with the provincial department of health to return to classes on Tuesday.

The agreement was reached last week after the students took the department to court over its decision to stop them from entering the premises following their strike. The court ordered the department to allow the students back to their residence provided they returned to class.

Department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said yesterday the students returned to the college on Monday but refused to resume classes on Tuesday.

"We have requested them to go back to class but they have blatantly refused.

"They said before they could do so they wanted us to discuss their grievances with the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa. But we cannot do so because they are not members of the union.

"We have requested a meeting with the SRC, and hopefully it will happen today," Lekgethwane said.

The students have been boycotting classes since early June. They want the department to give them the allowance for uniforms in cash so that they can buy the uniforms themselves.

Lekgethwane said: "It has been explained to the students that the contract binds them to this agreement. We have had a similar problem before where professional nurses are paid their uniform allowance in cash but never buy the uniforms.

"To avoid such a situation the department included the clause in the students' contracts which they sign every year."

Lekgethwane said the benefit of this clause was that the uniform cost more than the R1000 allowance allocated to the students.

"If they were to buy it themselves it would cost them more," he said.

Apart from the uniforms issue, the students are also demanding better living conditions. They want their residence renovated.