HOSPERSA JOINS FEDUSA IN OHS MARCH TO PARLIAMENT
01 December 2017
Hospersa is requesting members of the media to attend a march to the Republic of South Africa Parliament on 5 December 2017 over the escalating levels of violence levelled against Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel. The Union will join hands with the federation that it is affiliated to, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), in what is termed as the “Workers Lives Matter March”. Two other trade unions affiliated to FEDUSA, United National Trade Union (UNTU) and Public Service Association (PSA), will also take part in an effort to highlight the crucial importance of prioritising Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in the sectors where the unions’ members have come under constant attack in demarcated red zones.
Hospersa has previously called for national intervention from the politicians to address the scourge of attacks on EMS workers in the country. These attacks have been increasing at an alarming rate where this year has seen several incidents reported in not just the Western Cape, but in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Free State and Limpopo. In the case of the Western Cape, there were over 100 attacks in 2016, which prompted Hospersa to write an open letter to the Western Cape Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Health about the issue. FEDUSA also wrote a similar letter to the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi requesting intervention at national level. There has been little response in both instances.
The dire situation of the EMS service was again put on the spotlight at the beginning of November 2017, when a young boy lost his life after an ambulance was attacked on the N2 freeway in Cape Town. The delayed caused by the attack contributed to the untimely death of the 8 year old patient. At the time, Hospersa members threatened to remove the services from the so-called red zones on the premise that the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act states that employees have the right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions. However, this decision is not an easy one to make as EMS personnel have a duty to serve the community and it becomes very difficult to refuse when somebody in need calls you.
FEDUSA and Hospersa President, Godfrey Selematsela, will lead the march to Parliament, with the aim of highlighting the crucial importance of prioritising (OHS) in the health and other sectors where EMS personnel in particular, have come under constant attack in the demarcated red zones in the city of Cape Town. The march also aims to highlight the escalating levels of violence in the red zones as well as the absence of an action plan for the festive season where attacks are expected to escalate even more.
A memorandum of demands will be handed to the Minister of Defence, Minister of Police and the Minister of Labour to urgently address the unions concerns on the unsafe working conditions of its members. Hospersa reiterates that neglecting these demands would further compromise the delivery of emergency health care and other critical services to community members as well as continue to put the union members’ lives at risk when responding to emergency calls.
Please see details of the march below:
Date: 05 December 2017
Time: 11:00 (memorandum to be handed over at approximately 12:00)
March Route: From Keizergracht Street in Cape Town Central to Republic of South Africa Parliament
Total words (excluding heading): 556
For interviews please contact Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines on 083-321-4427.
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