The health minister also noted that anybody committing any criminal act would be charged.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla at a briefing on 28 April 2022 Picture: GCIS.
JOHANNESBURG – Health minister Joe Phaahla has warned members affiliated with the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) to return to work on Tuesday morning or face criminal charges and possible dismissal.
The Labour Appeal Court interdicted Nehawu from continuing its strike, which entered its second week.
The minister held a briefing last night where he spoke about the interdict and impact of the industrial action on public services which have compromised some of the country’s health facilities.
Healthcare workers went on strike after rejecting a 4.7% wage hike offer, pressing their demand for a 10% increase.
In its judgment on Monday, the labour appeal court called Nehawu’s strike “deplorable” and that it “illustrated a disregard for the law, and the people of this country entitled to access essential public services”.
Phaahla echoed the court’s ruling: “We urge all the workers in the health sector as defined in the court order to report to their workplaces. We believe that this could have been avoided.”
The minister said that those who fail to comply with the court order and continue to abandon their posts will be charged with misconduct.
“Any employee who fails to comply with this court order will be committing an act of misconduct subject to disciplinary action including possible dismissal. Any person committing any criminal act in pursuit of the strike action will be subjected to criminal proceedings.”
Meanwhile, Nehawu said that its legal team is studying the judgment and will advise on the way forward soon.