Government healthcare workers stationed in Mokhotlong, Thaba Tseka, and Qacha’s Nek have embarked on a total shutdown as a response to the Ministry of Health’s silence on their hardship allowances.
The spokesperson for the healthcare workers, Tanki Ranthimo, highlighted that this decision was made after the workers requested an increase in their hardship allowance, commonly known as the mountain allowance, from M275 to M500.
Ranthimo stated: â€œThe ministry has not replied to us regarding the issue and we thought taking action will catch their attention and they will talk to us. However, if they decide to talk, we want them to offer something concrete, not talks only and that is only when we will go back to work.â€
He further clarified that only serious emergencies will be attended to starting today, Friday, while the workers will primarily focus on paperwork-related tasks.
This action involves doctors, nurses, cleaners, and all employees of the Ministry of Health in the hospitals and clinics within the three districts.
Workers from the private sector will not be part but their work will be affected because we work hand in hand with them as they support the ministry,â€ he said.
This shutdown follows a period of go-slow actions that have been ongoing for approximately three weeks. The decision to escalate the situation arose because the Ministry of Health, he explained, remained unresponsive to the workersâ€™ concerns despite receiving multiple letters regarding the matter.
This development occurs amid an ongoing issue with doctors across the country who have ceased their call duties due to unpaid allowances spanning five years.
Presently, doctors are operating under regular working hours, refraining from night duties and weekends or holiday shifts.
The decision of these healthcare workers to go on a total shutdown underscores the urgency of addressing their demands and acknowledging their vital contributions to the healthcare system.
Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Health were unsuccessful this week.