Hospital cleaners not happy about outsourcing services

27 May 2015 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 27 MAY (NAMPA) – The idea of cleaning services at State health facilities being outsourced to private companies has not been received well by some cleaners and union members.
Minister of Health and Social Services Bernhard Haufiku announced on Wednesday during a meeting with health workers at the Katutura nurses’ home that due to deteriorating cleanliness at public hospitals, there is the possibility that cleaning services will be outsourced to private companies.
This is one of the measures aimed at ensuring cleanliness at public hospitals, Haufiku said.
Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) shop steward Johannes Sikwaya asked the minister during the meeting whether considering that option means he has concluded that the cleaning system in hospitals is failing.
Sikwaya noted that in most cases, deteriorating cleanliness at public hospitals is caused by a lack of cleaning materials.
He also wanted to find out from the minister if his ministry has already identified the private companies that are to receive the tenders for cleaning public health facilities.
Another cleaner also expressed disappointment over the idea, saying that due to cleaners’ lack of relevant qualifications, they now might be forced to work for private companies.
“Because we do not have degrees we are being outsourced to private companies. What about the benefits we get from Government? When are we also going to enjoy the fruits of independence?” asked the emotional cleaner.
In response, Haufiku cautioned workers not to become emotional when trying to solve problems.
He said it is evident that cleanliness at public hospitals is deteriorating and the idea of outsourcing is eminent.
“There will be no politics in health while I am here. Nothing will intimidate or move me. We are here to work, not only to enjoy the fruits of independence,” Haufiku stressed.
The minister indicated that he will have a meeting with the unions and cleaners to discuss the issue.
“The idea is there to outsource the cleaning services to private companies. We will hand you (cleaners) over to the private companies. If the company finds you incompetent, they will fire you. We have to perform and I will not compromise the health of our people,” he said.
He also warned that no company will receive special treatment when it comes to the awarding of cleaning tenders.
“We want proper cleaning services at public health facilities,” he reiterated.