Members of the National Education Health & Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) at the department of social development will embark on a national strike this week, the union said on Wednesday.
The country’s biggest public sector union said it was organising marches in five provinces to take place on Friday.
The main march would take place Pretoria, where a memorandum of demands would be handed over to both the department of social development and department of public service and administration.
Other marches will be taking place in Eastern Cape (King Williams Town), KwaZulu-Natal (Durban), Northern Cape (Kimberly) and Western Cape (Cape Town).
“This national action comes as a result of collapsed negotiations on matters of mutual interest in the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council (PHSDSBC), where the employer arrogantly and dismally failed to table a counter offer against our reasonable demands since August 2015,” the union said.
“Things got worse when [Social Development Department] Minister Bathabile Dlamini disregarded the correspondences of the national union requesting a meeting with her following the collapsed negotiations.
“As a result of the minister’s refusal to engage with the union, we are unfortunately left with no choice but to take to the streets.”
The union is demanding an allowance for those who work in rural areas, improved conditions of service for all employees in the department and permanent jobs for unemployed social workers.
Social development workers are the lowest paid and worked in poor conditions, Nehawu said.
“The truth of the matter is that social service professionals are the lowest paid professionals yet expected to give hope and confidence to the development of citizenry. Unfortunately, workers in this service are not compensated in a dignified manner and valued as critical contributors at the point of service.”