Parliamentary staff on Monday resumed a strike over salaries and bonuses, after accusing management of stalling negotiations.
“We began the strike again as of today because they reneged on their agreement last week to deal with the modalities of paying our bonuses,” said Sthembiso Tember, the branch secretary of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).
Tembe said “modalities” meant the percentage of workers’ salaries that they will receive as bonuses.
Nehawu suspended its stoppage at parliament, where it counts almost 1,000 members, last Tuesday after a task team was set up comprising three members from the union and three of parliamentary management. The union gave Parliament a deadline of last Friday by which the task team had to table a report “worth considering by the workers”, or face renewed labour action.
Tembe said the task team members from Nehawu rapidly tabled proposals but it was still waiting for those representing parliament to come to the party.
Parliament on Monday morning issued a statement suggesting Nehawu was acting in bad faith.
“Parliament understood the engagement to be about committing to finding solutions to problems as opposed to tabling ultimatums. Leaving the discussion table every time a party does not get its way suggests a predisposition to a win-lose mentality which is not helpful,” it said.
“Parliament further notes the reported plan to, again, disrupt parliamentary business and staff supporting members.”
Parliament took a hard line against striking staff before the agreement was reached. It insisted that the stoppage was illegal and docked strikers’ pay. And a fortnight ago police were called into the parliamentary grounds to disperse striking workers, firing stun grenades at them.
– African News Agency (ANA)