Parliament and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) have reached a settlement that will see the suspension of two workers lifted and further negotiations on outstanding labour matters, secretary of parliament Gengezi Mgidlana announced on Thursday.
Mgidlana and Nehawu deputy general secretary Zola Sapetha addressed a joint media briefing at the national legislature on Thursday morning, saying they were committed to ironing out all outstanding issues, including deductions from workers’ salaries following a month-long strike in November last year.
“We will uplift suspension of employees. They have been served with notices – that is, formal warnings – in order to say issues of discipline are important in any institution,” Mgidlana said.
Last week, parliamentary staff embarked on a wildcat strike, demanding the reinstatement of Nehawu’s parliament branch secretary Sthembiso Thembe and fellow union member Michael Sithole, who were suspended in June. Three others were facing disciplinary proceedings, which would also be halted. The three will, however, also have to sign written warnings.
Sapetha said the concessions by parliament followed two days of protracted negotiations.
“We agreed to firstly to say as part of normalising and creating stability that the suspension of the two will be uplifted immediately after this press conference so that employees come back to work. Secondly, those who are due for disciplinary process will receive written warnings as part of the agreement, and the negotiations must resume immediately,” said Sapetha.
Both sides said talks would continue on other issues concerning staff, with Thursday’s settlement being seen as the start of a better working relationship between parliament’s management team and the union, which had been severely strained over the past few months.
– African News Agency (ANA)