The staff of Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH) and its clinics have issued a letter to the Minister of Health Selibe Mochoboroane, demanding the prompt resolution of their grievances or they will resort to strike action.
The letter highlighted several long-standing issues, including unpaid overtime, backlog payments, night-duty allowance arrears, prorated 13th cheque, and unpaid leaves, which have not been addressed during the transition of QMMH from Tšepong.
In the letter, the staff also expressed their concerns about working in an intolerable environment during the partnership between the Lesotho government and Tšepong Hospital.
They said these conditions were enduring even after Tšepong left.
“The similar grievances never received a nearer remedy nor attention even by the new service provider, namely, the current government regime, which has engaged at present-day transition,” the letter read.
The letter indicated that the representatives of the QMMH staff met with the Hospital’s Managing Director and the Principal Secretary from the Ministry of Health, among others, on July 20th and 21st, this year.
During these meetings, it was allegedly announced that the transition phase was nearing its conclusion, and active employees from hospitals and clinics would be employed directly by the government.
However, the staff fears that their benefits may be compromised once again.
URGENT JOINT MEETING REQUESTED
To address their concerns and seek a resolution before the transition is finalised, the staff has requested a formal explanatory letter or Memo that clearly outlines the necessary actions or remedies.
Additionally, they have called for an urgent joint meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance before July 26th, 2023. Failure to address their plea adequately could result in the staff resorting to strike action.
“But taking into account the likely effect of the delays experienced, an urgent joint meeting in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance would be a paramount request. Failure to address the plea will attract an unavoidable option on our part to hold our labor.” the letter read.
In early June, during a ceremony honoring Florence Nightingale, Minister Mochoboroane assured that all stakeholders would be consulted to gather their views before final decisions are made regarding the transition.
He emphasised that the decisions made would not harm anyone and that the ministry’s priorities for the fiscal year 2023/2024 included improving QMMH’s services and establishing it as a referral hospital.
He indicated that QMMH would only be the Hospital it is supposed to be when its staff is satisfied and there is needed equipment also.
“For this financial year, as a step to making sure that problems at QMMH go to rest, QMMH budget was increased,” he said.
He stated that as one of the means in trying to resolve problems facing the hospital, regulations were enacted which give QMMH autonomy.
Mamolise Falatsa, the Public Relations Manager for the Ministry of Health, confirmed that the office of the Minister received the letter from the QMMH staff.