South Africa's Essential Service Workers Ordered Back to Work

The South African National Department of Health has given essential service workers in the health sector until the morning of Tuesday, 14 March, 2023, to report to work. Those who fail to report will be seen to be in contempt of a Labour Appeal Court interdict issued on Monday and will be liable to face charges of misconduct, Daily Maverick reports.

On Monday, March 13, the Labour Appeal Court ordered the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) to make sure its members know about the interdict or face legal consequences. A full bench of the court ruled that except for workers in essential services, and some other categories of workers, the workers could continue their strike. The court was critical of the union, of government and of the police.

GroundUp reports that the union had gone to the court to appeal against a March 6 Labour Court order permitting the execution of a previous interdict against NEHAWU's wage strike.

Thousands of workers downed tools to force the government to agree to demands for a 10% wage hike. The government has offered 4.7% but the union has rejected the offer, calling it an insult.

Public sector workers protest in Cape Town on Wednesday March 8, 2023.


Members of the South African Policing Union (SAPU) march through the streets of Pretoria with NEHAWU and other affiliates as they start an indefinite strike on Monday, March 6, 2023.

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