COSATU’s march to GEMS still on for Friday

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COSATU FS still intends to march against GEMS high prices and job losses in the poultry sector. Image: The Citizen

The Free State wing of the Congress of the South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) remain adamant to march to the offices of the Government Employees Medical Scheme(GEMS) in Bloemfontein.

According to the provincial secretary, Moyatso oa Mahlatsi, while GEMS remains open to talks with the union, these talks do nothing for the members as they are still faced with having to pay high premiums for medical aid, despite the agreement the two parties had last year. Mahlatsi says the agreement with GEMS stated that premiums would not increase, following complaints lodged by members, among others, that the scheme’s funds were limited and though prices increased every year, the benefits remained the same.

Meanwhile, Principal Officer for GEMS, Gunvant Goolab, says “GEMS understands and shares the concerns raised by Cosatu. We implemented the increased contributions across existing options due to the significant increase in hospital claims that was experienced during 2016. This was an unavoidable step which was taken to protect our members and the benefits they have come to expect from the Scheme.”

He further adds that numerous medical aid schemes in the country also increased their rates to “keep pace with rapidly rising healthcare expenses and other industry pressure” and adds that it’s also important for consumers to note that GEMS prices are “highly competitive”.

Mahlatsi says as it’s during the week and there is no Section 77 notice, the union expects that roughly a thousand people will take part in the march. The march will be from the Batho Community Hall to the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) offices. This scheduled march serves a dual purpose, one for the GEMS matters at hand and the other purpose being to raise awareness that poultry factories are closing, resulting in job losses in the province as a result of poultry imports from America.

The march will be from the Batho Community Hall to the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) offices. This scheduled march serves a dual purpose, one for the GEMS matters at hand and the other purpose being to raise awareness that poultry factories are closing, resulting in job losses in the province as a result of poultry imports from America.

This scheduled march serves a dual purpose, one for the GEMS matters at hand and the other purpose being to raise awareness that poultry factories are closing, resulting in job losses in the province as a result of poultry imports from America.

Pulane Choane/BloemfonteinCourant