Intervene in Frontier cleaners’ dispute

THE Frontier Hospital cleaners’ dispute over the alleged lack of payment of their wages by Sbomvana Cleaning Services needs urgent intervention.
This week The Rep reports that the sit-in by the cleaners has reached its fourth month while the workers’ ongoing demand for payment has featured in several reports in the newspaper since April last year.
It is an untenable situation for both the workers and the hospital and one which should have been resolved with urgency months ago.
The ongoing saga is not fair to the workers, the patients and the staff and it is not fair to the community which is being served by the hospital.
The department of health has the responsibility to provide a clean and hygienic facility and if the cleaners are not working, these conditions are compromised which could have a disastrous impact on the well-being of patients, staff and visitors.
Unfortunately, the health department had not responded to The Rep’s questions at the time of writing this week as the hope existed that The Rep could inform the workers and the community about progress in the matter.
The last comment made by the department to The Rep (“Payment woes continue for cleaning staff,” June 24, 2016) was when then spokesman Siyanda Manana said the company had been paid in full by the department and that the department’s contract was with Sbomvana Cleaning Services and not with the cleaners. “We have paid the company and there is nothing outstanding from our side in terms of payments. It is the service provider that is obligated to pay the cleaners. The cleaners must take it up with the company.”
Even more discouraging is the fact that the Sbomvana Cleaning Services owners have declined to comment, despite efforts by the newspaper to obtain clarity on the payment situation this week.
No resolution seems to be in sight. If the matter is not being resolved on local level and the provincial department is absolving itself from responsibility in this regard, it’s going to require a Herculean effort to sort out this matter – unless both the workers and the company meet and sort it out once and for all. Is it possible? Let’s hope so for the sake of Frontier Hospital.

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