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Medscheme workers end strike

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Compromise on performance bonus budget of R19 million

Photo of workers on strike
Medscheme workers went on strike to demand higher bonuses. Photo: Kristine Liao
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After two days on strike, Medscheme workers have accepted a budget of R19 million to fund their performance bonuses. They will resume work on Tuesday.

Medscheme administers several medical schemes.

Members of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) met with Medscheme employers in Johannesburg on the weekend to negotiate an agreement. Workers were informed of the final decision Monday morning.

“It is not what [the workers] wanted, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Casper Nanto, head of organising at NEHAWU.

Workers were demanding a performance bonus of R10,000 each. They had refused Medscheme’s previous proposal of a R14.7 million budget to be distributed among the 4,000 employees, as it would only guarantee about R3,700 per worker.

A distribution formula will be finalised by the end of July, and the date of payment is set at 31 October, according to Patrick Sota, head of industrial relations at Medscheme.

“We want to thank the employees for the manner they handled the situation,” Sota said. “For some of them it was their first time getting involved in this kind of industrial action, and it was really difficult. Thank you very much for understanding where we come from.”

Now with the R19 million fund agreed upon, workers are still far from reaching their original demand, but Nanto said “they understand that negotiations are a give and take”.

“The fact that we have managed to draw something like 7 million to 19 million, members have appreciated that,” Nanto said. “They also appreciate that for the first time since 2017, their demand is ultimately going to see dawn of the day.”

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