Johannesburg – The Public Servants Association (PSA) on Thursday said it was “disturbed” that workers at the Government Printing Works (GPW) have been sacked for demanding protective equipment.
The protective equipment includes safety shoes, overalls, gloves, earplugs, and gloves.
GPW employees have complained to the PSA that for months they are being forced to work without the necessary protective equipment.
The workers said the situation has not changed despite several requests to management to provide them with protective equipment.
The PSA said the non-provision of such equipment to GPW workers was in breach of the Occupational Health Safety Act (OHSA).
The PSA said it was, “disturbed by the GPW’s failure to comply with the Occupational Health Safety Act (OHSA) at the expense of employees’ safety, coupled with blatant intimidation of employees”.
The PSA added: “Some employees are now no longer willing to compromise their safety to meet the GPW’s service-delivery demands.
“On 2 June 2023, they informed the GPW that they were only prepared to work if there was compliance with the OHSA.
“Rather than responding to their plea, the GPW reacted by placing them on immediate suspension.”
The PSA – a union that represents 80% of GPW workers – said it met with the management to discuss the situation and demanded that the decision to suspend employees be reconsidered.
“The GPW management, however, refused to reconsider,” said the PSA.
“Employees are working in fear as they are threatened that if they do not want to work, they should go home”.
The PSA said it was deplorable that a vital component of the government’s unlawful conduct was jeopardising its employees’ safety at risk, coupled with intimidation.
The PSA said it condemns, “this conduct and will pursue all legal avenues to ensure that the GPW accounts for its actions and complies with the OHSA”.