Court Declares South Africa EMS Strike Illegal

Court Declares South Africa EMS Strike Illegal

News Dec 02, 2012

The Labour Court in Port Elizabeth granted an interdict against striking Eastern Cape emergency medical service workers, declaring the strike illegal.

Health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said that in terms of the interdict, striking workers are barred from striking or picketing within a 100m radius of any health facility in the province.

Nehawu provincial secretary Xolani Malamulela condemned the interdict, accusing the department of acting in bad faith.

"We are currently in negotiations with the department but they still run to the courts to seek solutions," he said, adding that he had received copy of the interdict and would engage the department about it this morning.

Kupelo said all district managers had been informed about the interdict and police would help execute its mandate.

The court order came as striking workers were accused of threatening and intimidating private ambulance staff helping to transport critically ill patients to hospitals.

Chief executive of the South African Private Ambulance and Emergency Services Associations (Sapaesa), Oliver Wright, yesterday claimed that some of the incidents had occurred outside Frere Hospital when private ambulance staff transporting patients to the hospital were sworn at by striking workers.

"It needs to be noted private ambulances staff are not taking advantage of the strike. We are assisting the department at discounted rates and only at the request of the department," said Wright.

He said private ambulances were already feeling the pressure as they already had a high workload which had increased to cover calls on behalf of the department.

One such call yesterday was to a horror car accident on the N2 between East London and King William's Town.

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Arrive Alive spokesman Tshepo Machaea said the driver of a BMW car had collided with a truck.

The driver died on the scene. Thousands of health staff across the province, including ambulance drivers, have been striking over demands they be paid performance bonuses, various allowances and overtime due to them.

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