- Striking South African doctors have been told to go back to work and follow the right procedures to declare their grievances.
Health Minister Barbara Hogan, who minced no words to declare the strike illegal, called on the doctors to return to work, saying there were set standards and procedures for public servants to approach such matters.
The doctors have embarked on a strike demanding to be paid their occupational allowances, with at least three provinces of the country said to have had a larger support of doctors joining the strike.
"We are calling on all those doctors which have embarked on industrial action to recognise that there are laws and channels in place which all aggrieved workers can approach to resolve their problems," the minister said.
She further said the department of health had placed a set of proposals for collective bargaining by the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council.
"We believe the processes is going to be concluded as a matter of urgency. It will once more demonstrate our commitment to workplace democratic processes of finding solutions to challenges that confront our professionals," the government agency BuaNews quoted minister Hogan saying.
According to the report, the health department plans to revamp the entire health sector in all categories to allow career progression rather than annual salaries.
The department has however acknowledged that negotiations which should have started last year have met challenges to reaching a conclusion in the negotiations.
The strike which has resumed despite the excitement of elections in South Africa has seen some health centres forced to close and the government has threatened to withhold pay for those doctors in the strike, saying that patients' interest was a priority.
Among those reported to have been most affected are the Gauteng and Pretoria hospitals, while doctors in East London were also reported to have threatened to join the strike, with the KwaZulu-Natal being partly hit where in some doctors had reportedly placed placards outside hospitals.
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