Department of Social Development social workers in Wolmaransstad, in North West, have embarked on a go-slow.
They are protesting against inadequate working conditions. The healthcare practitioners say the facility they use to meet with their clients affords them no privacy and is not conducive for social distancing.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says workers were initially accommodated in a dilapidated building, which did not comply with occupational health and safety standards. However, the workers were then temporarily placed in a nearby building which was partly renovated after it appeared on SABC News last year.
The union says this move did little to better working conditions, forcing workers to go against their professional code of conduct.
“It is overcrowded. Clients are sitting here, officials are sitting there, providing services clients. One client can hear the information of another, the next thing the information will be scattered in the community. Other thing, we are 71, we can not be expected to occupy this hall. It is not spacious to accommodate all of us. To add on that, there is no designated place or facility where the information of the client is kept. That means on its own, is a violation of the protection of Personal Information Act,” says Thapelo Mocoancoeng, Nehawu Regional Chairperson.
Workers declined to speak to the media, fearing victimisation.
The provincial Social Development department meanwhile says it is working on a long-term plan to address the matter.
“We have developed a decongestion plan with a shift rotation so that we allow our staff members to continue to render services to the public without being crowded in that building. By next week we hope to ensure that we revisit our decongestion plan so that staff members are not crowded in that building,” says Departmental Spokesperson, Petrus Siko.
The department has called on employees to continue providing services to the community, while it works on plans to remedy the situation.
However, workers have vowed to continue their go-slow until their demands are met.
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