“How are we supposed to work in an environment like this? Our safety as medical staff is not guaranteed‚” said one staff member‚ who could not be named. “It really makes you think whether you want to work in this place or you should go work elsewhere. I’m busy treating patients‚ and I am told they [workers] might come and take us all out. It is really not conducive for work. The whole hospital is unsafe.”
Earlier‚ three security guards were injured and three others arrested when police removed them from the hospital precinct‚ after management announced that the contract with Sidas Security Services had ended.
Guards from the company had reported for duty as usual‚ only to find that they were not needed at the hospital. Three guards suffered injuries from rubber bullets and were treated at the same hospital.
Police conduct angered the workers at the hospital‚ and they went outside to protest. The Trade Union of Security Industry in South Aftica (Tusisa) tried to intervene on behalf of its members‚ but police refused to release them.
Hospital workers then gathered to try and find a lasting solution to the security problem‚ which has troubled the hospital over the past few weeks.
Before the clashes on Tuesday morning‚ 167 security guards hired by Sidas Security Services had downed tools after they were not paid their salaries. When payment came through for some of them‚ they were told that the contract with their employer had ended.
“The situation remains tense‚ but for us as workers this is unacceptable‚” said another member of the medical staff who preferred not to be named. “The wards are not guarded‚ and anything can happen to the workers. We don’t understand why we have to work under such conditions.”
Hospital staff had a brief meeting at the entrance of the hospital to map the way forward‚ and then returned to work.
The new security company has not been able to come to the hospital premises and provide much-needed safety at the hospital. Police are still guarding the hospital. However‚ they are now deployed to various points to ensure that all staff are safe.
However‚ although police vans are parked at the entrance of the hospital‚ staff members pointed out that anyone is able to gain access to the hospital without being properly checked.