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Visiting nurses from our sister union in South Africa have been struck by the similarities in the challenges facing health care workers in Canada and their home.

“Many of the issues that you are dealing with here are the same in South Africa,” said Lungiswa Maqaqa, representing the National Health Education and Allied Workers (NEHAWU). “The health care system is being restructured and privatized. Supplies are short and staffing has been cut but they have money to do fancy renovations.”

With Isaac Zulu, Maqaqa has been travelling in Canada for the past two weeks, visiting British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario. During their visit they have met with CUPE members, nurses unions and others, learning more about the structure of our health care system and our work to defend it.

They’ve learned a great deal during their trip and hope that they’ve contributed to CUPE’s work as well. Says Zulu: “When we’ve been meeting with nurses, we’ve encouraged them to join with other health workers in CUPE, stressing the importance of a united workers’ movement to counter the power of management and the corporations.”