Bodies pile as Durban mortuary staff strike over abusive colleagues

DURBAN –Bodies have begun piling up at the Medico-Legal Mortuary in Magwaza Maphalala (Gale) Street after angry staff downed tools on Tuesday in protest against two colleagues who they claim were abusive to them.

The strike has resulted in families not being able to finalise funeral plans. Labour unions have stepped in as an effort to try and resolve the dispute at the mortuary, which attends to at least 12 cases of body pick-ups and post mortems a day.

Staff is forced to work with two colleagues who have been verbally and, in some cases, physically, abusing them. They also claimed that the two staff members were the cause of many internal disputes.

Employees said the abuse had been going on for many years.

“This did not start last month. This has been happening for a long time. They are rude to us. They swear at us and call us names,” said one worker. Another worker said the colleagues, a female and a male, had been abusive to her for the past two years.

“I reported the incidents to my superiors but nothing was done. No action was taken. I want them removed from the facility,” the employee said.

The KwaZulu- Natal Department of Health has apologised to families who have inconvenienced by the disruption at the mortuary.

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