Nurses from Groote Schuur hospital were seen singing and dancing on Monday morning [June 8] as they held a peaceful protest to raise awareness for their safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The protest comes after calls to shut down Tygerberg Hospital where a number of staff members have been infected with coronavirus and four have reportedly died.
IOL reports that the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says that Groote Schuur staff have raised a number of issues with the Western Cape Health Department regarding health and safety concerns at the facility.
Some reports by the union say that staff members who tested positive for the virus were simply told not to communicate with co-workers. Other concerns include incorrect isolation procedures and a lack of sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).
Nehawu provincial secretary Eric Kweleta claims the hospital was unwilling to comply with the correct isolation period.
“They don’t want to comply with the 14-day isolation period, they rather have workers return to work. They have also threatened workers with leave without pay if they don’t come back,” Kweleta said.
Four area of Tygerberg Hospital, including the kitchen, have been shut down with immediate effect following an inspection by the Department of Labour and workers unions. The hospital was found to be in violation of numerous occupational health and safety measures that are minatory in addressing the spread of coronavirus.
The union and the staff at various hospitals feel their cries for help are falling on deaf ears as they continue to battle the pandemic on the front line.