The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) on Friday signed the settlement agreement with the minister of social development and the management of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to officially suspend its workers’ strike at the grants agency after parties agreed to work on a solution to end the conflict.
This comes after Nehawu said it would end a strike at the national social grants agency on Monday after the department of social development agreed to suspend the rolling out of a contentious biometric system pending further tests.
Zola Saphetha, Nehawu general secretary, said the union has visited all workplaces to report to members on the draft settlement agreement and used that to get a mandate for signing and demobilising.
“Members are happy with the agreement and have mandated the union to sign it. Demobilisation has begun and workers are expected back at work on Monday 15th October 2018. The strike is therefore suspended pending the full implementation of the settlement agreement,” Saphetha said.
“As Nehawu, we want to applaud our members for their high levels of both resilience and discipline during the strike.”
Nehawu began the strike at Sassa offices across the country on Wednesday to protest the use of the biometric system to process social grants disbursements following a migration from Cash Paymaster Services to the South African Post Office.
The union met with the minister of social development on Wednesday where the parties agreed it was necessary to focus on how the decommissioning of pay points had disadvantaged beneficiaries in rural areas, in particular.
The union has complained that the new system has introduced a raft of challenges which do not form part of the job description for administrative workers and for which they were neither trained nor compensated, adding that this migration has also opened the system up to easy manipulation, fraud, and corruption.