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Doctors' salary talks adjourned

Staff Reporter

Talks on the salary dispute involving doctors and other workers in the medical field will resume on Monday, the health department said on Saturday.

Talks on the salary dispute involving doctors and other workers in the medical field will resume on Monday, the health department said on Saturday.

This was after proceedings at the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) were adjourned at about 10pm on Friday.

“The discussions are continuing. The adjournment was merely to allow both parties to report to their constituencies,” spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said.

The South African Medical Association’s Norman Mabasa said they hoped “both parties will share a common goal when they meet [on Monday]”. 

“We still have differences on certain issues. There are issues that are being ironed out ... identified areas where increases are not very lucrative.

“If the employer doesn’t meet us halfway it makes it really difficult for us ... we are hoping that on Monday when the council resumes they will be able to convince each other on what to do. We hope both parties will be sensitive to the importance of this matter,” Mabasa said.

On Friday, both parties were still at loggerheads regarding the salary increment issue. This followed Wednesday’s announcement by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi that some of the country’s lowest paid doctors would receive up to a 53% pay increase.

Sama did not welcome the increase, saying they were “not happy with some elements of the offer”.

With the negotiations adjourned for Monday, the parties will have 24 hours to agree on Occupational Specific Dispensation—an adjustment of salary grades for public servants to reward their experience and skill level.

The PSCB has set June 30 for the finalisation of agreements on OSD.

Meanwhile, the Rural Doctors’ Association of Southern Africa (Rudasa) has described the OSD proposal as “anti-rural”.

“The proposal calculates the rural allowance on 70% of the salary rather than the current 75%. So in the process of implementing the OSD, the government decreases the rural allowance.

“It [OSD] undermines the possibility of developing a career path in rural medicine. While trying to appease the toyi-toying masses, the government offer sacrifices the rural communities,” said Rudasa’s Bernhard Gaede.

He said by alienating rural doctors, the government was foiling its attempt to recruit doctors to rural areas. - Sapa

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