Nurses win back right to weekend time

Estelle Ellis

ABOUT 80 nurses from Uitenhage Provincial Hospital took part in a strike and protest march yesterday in objection to a new system that cuts down on their weekend time.

The labour relations officer for the Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of SA, Isaac Jacobus, said after a meeting with representatives from the Health Department, the issue was resolved.

“The shift system that had our members work from Monday to Monday, including Saturday and Sunday, saw a sharp increase in absenteeism,” Jacobus said.

The Monday to Monday shift – as it is referred to in the profession – runs from Monday to Sunday, meaning staff are off on a Monday.

The Sunday to Sunday shift runs from Sunday to Saturday.

Jacobus said the new system, to be implemented from June 9, would allow members to spend at least a little time with their families on weekends.

“If the nurses work from Sunday to Sunday it would mean that they have a Sunday off to spend with their families,” Jacobus said. “We had a meeting with representatives from the Health Department and they agreed that the shift system be changed back.”

The agreement means all nurses in the province will now work uniform shifts. Health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo was not available for comment.

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