South Africa 12.2.2015 02:03 pm

Nehawu clarifies Parliament action

FILE PICTURE: Mzwandile Makwayiba, Nehawu President having a word with Fikile Majola, general secretary before briefing media media at Nehawu offices at  Marshall street, Johannesburg,. Picture Nigel .Sibanda

FILE PICTURE: Mzwandile Makwayiba, Nehawu President having a word with Fikile Majola, general secretary before briefing media media at Nehawu offices at Marshall street, Johannesburg,. Picture Nigel .Sibanda

The withdrawal of workers’ voluntary services from the state-of-the-nation address (Sona) is not a strike or an attempt to disrupt the event, Nehawu said on Thursday.

“Nehawu has noted some media reports that claim the union members in… Parliament have declared a strike or will be boycotting the state-of-the-nation address,” the union said in a statement.

“We want to clarify this distortion and place on record the decision of our members with regard to the Sona.”

The union signed a wage agreement for an 8.5 percent increase across the board in April last year, with it agreeing to continue negotiations on other matters before the next round of negotiations began.

“Because of the intransigent attitude of the employer, we could not reach an agreement in 2014,” the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said.

“Before the 2014 Sona, our members gave the union a mandate to inform the management they would be withdrawing their voluntary services during the last state-of-the-nation address.”

However, after engagements with management and the presiding officers, the union persuaded its members to continue to volunteer their services.

Negotiations afterwards proved unsuccessful, with Nehawu claiming that management had negotiated with them in bad faith.

“The union has received and supports the new mandate from the workers; that those who normally render services voluntarily during the Sona will withdraw those services,” Nehawu said.

“These include services such as singing in the choir, ushering in of guests, catering services after normal working hours, etc.”

Members contractually obliged to work after hours, like the chamber assistants unit, protection services unit, and ICT broadcasting and visual unit, would report for duty as expected.

“We have been patient and disciplined for almost two years in the hope that the management would deliver on their promise to conclude the 2013/2014 round of negotiations,” Nehawu said.

“We also want to make it clear that we are unwavering in our demands, which include the annual bonus [13th cheque] and many others.”

 

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