Union calls for better pay for health workers this May Day

The president of Haitu is calling on government to pay health workers what they deserve this Workers Day. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

The president of Haitu is calling on government to pay health workers what they deserve this Workers Day. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

Published May 1, 2024


The Health and Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union (Haitu) has called on the government and the private sector to pay healthcare workers better wages as they were part of the working poor in South Africa.

Haitu president Rich Sicina aid this Worker's Day was a grim one for workers due to the issues healthcare workers faced.

“We have jobs but the salaries we are paid are so small, and the working conditions we are exposed to are so shocking, that it does not give us much of a reason to celebrate Worker’s Day,” he explained.

“International Worker’s Day is a day when workers are supposed to celebrate the gains made by previous generations of workers. During the dark days of apartheid, workers took up battles against the brutal system, with the hope that, democracy would translate into a better life, but it was not to be. It seems the sacrifices which we made were in vain.”

Sicina painted a grim picture and said that those working in public hospitals in South Africa were surrounded by death and despair.

He argued that workers are facing a collapsing infrastructure and are often forced to work without enough medication or basic resources for patients.

Moreover, Sicina lamented the energy and water crisis certain parts of the country are facing.

He said frequent power and water cuts meant that the efforts to provide quality healthcare are drastically undermined.

“Hundreds of patients die unnecessarily in our facilities every day as a result of this,” he said.

Cosatu is failing health workers

Haitu said the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which is aligned with the governing party, the ANC, was failing workers.

“We are sick and tired of the fake performance of trade union federation Cosatu and its affiliates who annually celebrate this very important workers day, with our butcher, the ANC government.

“This relationship has resulted in workers being betrayed by the very same unions which are supposed to defend them,” he said.

Sicina argued that health workers are paid a depressing salary and live pay cheque to pay cheque.

“Health workers live from hand to mouth and what is worse, workers in the public health sector were given a pathetic 4,7% increase, which is an insult!”

He said that Cosatu and its affiliates deliberately mislead the working class into supporting the ANC which is brutalising them every single day in the workplace.

“We will never get tired of saying this, the alliance is a sell-out arrangement and this is why workers in the public sector will always suffer, because their trade union leadership is sleeping with the enemy.

“By celebrating Workers Day with President Cyril Ramaphosa, it is obvious that Cosatu hopes to mislead workers into voting for the ANC in the upcoming elections,” he said.

Sicina is calling for transformation in the healthcare department this Worker's Day.