The management of San Michele’s home for psychiatric and disabled patients in Brakpan on the East Rand are in panic after most of the staff members of the home have started a protected strike action. More than 200 patients are left unattended during.
Marius Bosman, administrator of San Michele, explained on Saturday that about 90 staff members, including caregivers, cooks and cleaners, have down tools due to wages and bonuses dispute since Friday morning.
“Where we usually have a staff corps of about 85 people throughout the day and 15 crews of staff, we currently have only one matron and five volunteers to look after our 203 patients,” Bosman said.
“We are currently experiencing a crisis and should, with the help of the few volunteers, ensure that patients are fed, fed, bathed and taken care of.”
Hannes Noëth, executive director of Solidarity Helping Hand, sent delegates from this welfare organization to the hostel to urgently intervene.
Nearly 40 workers from the Nupsaw union (National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers) spoke outside the home on Saturday. It is believed that those who where participating in the strike intimidated fellow workers who did not want to strike.
According to Phillip Bruwer, spokesperson for Helping Hand, protesters tried to prevent access to the premises on Saturday, even those who wanted to volunteers were also prevented.
According to Bosman, it is a protected strike after negotiations have reached a dead end at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
“The CCMA has approved this strike this week, despite the fact that we are an essential services institution. It led largely to the crisis and we consulted with our legal representatives to get an urgent interdict against the strikers, “he said.
Bruwer says Helping Hand has now made money available to ensure that nursing staff are temporarily appointed to ensure that patients receive the necessary medication.
AfriForum and the local community policing forum also sent security staff to ensure volunteers gain access to the premises.
Noëth said the situation was similar to that of Huis Davidtsz in Pretoria’s city center earlier this year, where many elderly people were left in their own fate in two incidents of workers’ disputes.
“It’s really a pity that workers in their respective positions leave the people they care for just in a state of the art. How can a wage dispute over the care of vulnerable people prevail? “Noëth said.
Bosman said the biggest crisis is currently getting enough work to care for and care for the patients.
Dr. Kobie Marais, Acting Director of the Gauteng Department of Mental Health, said the department was aware of the incident and monitored the situation.
“San Michele is one of the best nonprofit organizations for our psychiatric patients. At least 80 of the people are dependent on permanent care and can not care for themselves. Volunteers of Helping Hand and relatives are currently helping out and the situation is expected to continue at least this weekend, “Marais said.
The strikers refused to talk to the media and became hostile when approached for comment.
Members of the public who want to offer help can send their name and mobile number to firstname.lastname@example.org with an indication of their availability until Monday evening.
Read the original article in Afrikaans on Maroela Media
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