At least 100 cleaners who were on a go slow on Monday agreed at a meeting held at the hospital to put down tools completely at the end of October should their salaries not be paid on time.
The cleaners who work for Prime Projects, a professional cleaning company contracted by the hospital complained of late payments.
And in this bitter employer and employees fight it has been the patients who suffered the most.
By Tuesday evening Princess Marina Hospital was filthy, with dirt and litter everywhere and a stench coming from both the male and female wards.
Patients interviewed expressed worry at the rate at which the hospital was becoming dirty and a risk to their health.
“We are told there is a professional cleaning company contracted to clean this hospital, but there is dirt everywhere. It’s so disgusting that we find it difficult to even eat in here,” said a patient from the male medical ward.
Asked why they couldn’t find other ways of negotiating with their employer instead of putting patients health at risk a cleaner who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation said:
“We are tired of being paid late. It is almost a year now with some of us not being paid full amount at any given month. Our boss is very arrogant and it is high time we showed him that we also matter.”
Employees further complained that Prime Time Projects did not give them contracts and terms of employment.
“When we complain and demands contracts he tells us to quit if we are not interested because there is a always a queue of people looking for employment, ” another frustrated employee said adding that the labour department has also not been very helpful.
Prime Projects Cleaning Company Director, Akim Setswalo could not be reached for a comment as his mobile phone went unaswered for two days while the Hospital Spokesperson, Kagiso Motsumi declined to shed light on the contractors’ obligation and on why the hospital was filthy.