Citizen reporter
2 minute read
25 Nov 2020
1:30 pm

Nehawu to embark on nationwide strike on Thursday

Citizen reporter

The union wants government to permanently employ community health workers.

Members of Nehawu protesting outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 3 September 2020. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) will on Thursday embark on a strike across all provinces, with the union calling on the national Department of Health to permanently employ to community health workers.

During a media briefing on Tuesday, Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha said the union would march when the National Health Council meeting was convened, which was attended by the national minister of health and the nine provincial health MECs.

“The national union has elected to use that day to host marches across the country to send a clear message to the department that the employment on a permanent basis of these workers is long overdue and that it must take place with immediate effect,” he said.

Saphetha said Nehawu members would march across the country in order to hand over their memorandum of demands.

“Government will be given seven days to accede to our demands and failure to respond positively to them will leave us with no option, but to intensify the strike and render the system ungovernable.

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“The government cannot continue to exploit these workers without remunerating them decent salaries and not the meagre R3500 they have been subjected to for years,” he said.

Saphetha further said the union would also address the matter of non-payment of salary increases of public servants, especially frontline workers.

“These workers have not been paid for overtime during level five lockdown. We view this strike as part of the greater gender struggle of fighting for the emancipation of women from slave wages, informal work and exploitation by employers,” he added.

See Nehawu’s memorandum of demands below:

Saphetha also said the union would continue to support the Communication Workers Union (CWU) in their fight against retrenchments at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

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“The 400 job cuts that the SABC is intending to make is not just numbers but breadwinners who are trying to feed their families and to send their children to school. The outbreak of Covid-19 has already led to unimaginable job losses across the economy and we don’t need to add to the already sky-high unemployment rate which currently stands at 43.1%.

“The SABC must look at other ways of ensuring its sustainability as the route they are choosing will result in the diminishing of the quality of news. SABC radio and TV delivers news in all 11 official languages especially for people in townships and rural areas.

“If the SABC is committed to being a news leader in the country they have to keep these workers and aggressively collect TV license fees which they have been failing to do for years.”

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