COSATU FS prepares to march to GEMS Bloemfontein

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The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Free State say they are gearing for a march against the Government Employees’ Medical Scheme (GEMS) for breaching the agreement that the service provider made with the union last year. Provincial union secretary, Monyatso oa Mahlatsi, says the public servants’ medical aid provider must review the benefits it provides its members.

It also agreed not to increase its fees for 2017. He says this agreement came after members complained that the fees increase every year while the benefits remain unchanged.

Mahlatsi adds that many of the members “exhaust their benefits as early as April each year, whilst they continue to pay until the end of the year. Our members are now indebted with cash loans, whilst trying to settle the bills that have not been paid by GEMS.” He adds that this problem is persistent regardless of the medical aid plans members have, even stating that the entry level plan is known as “Sapphire”, is becoming known for not being helpful at all.

He further adds that leading up to the media release his organisation sent on the matter, GEMS was reluctant to meet with him and others from Cosatu, however, following the release they’ve requested to sit down with Cosatu in talks as they’d prefer not to have a march to their offices.

If talks between the two organisations do no reach an agreement, Mahlatsi says the union will be marching to GEMS on 17 February 2017, at 10h00 to hand in a memorandum of demands for the transformation of GEMS. At the time of print, GEMS had not responded to Bloemfontein Courant’s enquiries into the matter.

Pulane Choane/BloemfonteinCourant