The Western Cape Muslim Undertakers Forum will not partake in the nationwide three-day strike announced by the funeral sector. More than 3000 funeral industry employees are expected to down tools and have vowed not to collect corpses after the government failed to respond to their demands. Amongst the grievances are improved working conditions and higher remuneration. The aggrieved undertakers are demanding the outsourcing of mortuary facilities and that the government change rules regarding certificates of competence.
The vice-chairperson of the Durban Burial Society, Ahmed Paruk said their demands have been unmet for years.
“We want changes to various pieces of legislation that restrict smaller undertakers, including those with home affairs and we want the outsourcing of mortuary facilities to be recognised and legalised, among other things,” he told VOC Breakfast Beat.
Paruk says government further put aside billions for Covid-19 burials, from which no undertakers have benefited.
Chairperson of the Western Cape Muslim Undertakers Forum Ebrahim Solomon said there was no communication as to how burials will be handled and the province is therefore not participating in the strike. He adds that the strike originated in Kwa-Zulu Natal and will most likely mainly be happening there, expressing doubt that local services will deny providing services.
The Health Department has rejected the three-day strike and threatened legal action against those who participate. The department said the strike action is very concerning as it may lead to undesired conditions and risks to public health.