Solidarity has reacted with shock and concern to the sudden announcement it received from the Netcare private hospital group. Solidarity says in a statement on the Polity site, that in the letter the group indicates that it intends to commence with a retrenchment process at its primary care division, Medicross. Solidarity says: ‘The process will, among other things, affect the conditions of service of approximately 926 members of staff.
“This sudden announcement is a cause of major concern to us,” Peirru Marx, coordinator for the medical sector at Solidarity, said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has put the medical sector in the front-line where this sector is providing an invaluable service. Health care workers took up their task and responsibility in these times with dedication, which in many cases also required numerous sacrifices.”
According to Medicross, the lockdown which President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 23 March had a direct impact on the number of patients it saw across all divisions. Even though the services provided by the hospital group are essential, movement by the public was limited by the lockdown regulations announced under the Disaster Management Act, and consequently, people made less use of medical services. While Medicross for now only intends to make changes to the conditions of service, it does not exclude the possibility of retrenchments in future.
Solidarity said it undertakes to assist its members during this process in order to prevent possible retrenchments, and it will examine all possible solutions to protect the interests of its members.
“Although more and more institutions are implementing similar measures to curb job losses, this still comes as a shock. For us it is crucial to ensure job security for our members and to prevent retrenchments as far as possible. In the same way this sector came forward for us, we will now come forward for them,” Marx concluded.Full statement on the Polity site