CCMA meeting expected to end protracted strike by RAF East London workers

BY YOLANDA PALEZWENI - MARCH 24, 2017
CCMA meeting expected to end protracted strike by RAF East London workers

Disgruntled Road Accident Fund (RAF) employees, who are members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), have been picketing outside the agency's offices in East London since the 16th of March calling attention to what they said were poor wages and poor working conditions.

According to one of the workers, who spoke to RNEWS on condition of anonymity, the RAF employees decided to embark on the protest as they had not received salary increments over the past three years and when the agency did award them increases for the 2015-2016 financial year, it was not enough for them to meet their needs.

“We believe as employees, we are being underpaid and exploited by the RAF. We are not willing to give up until our demands are met,” he said.

He added that unlike in most public agencies and departments, a thirteenth cheque doesn't exist at RAF because every month, a certain amount of money is deducted on their wages to make up the thirteenth cheque they receive at the end of the year.

“Every month certain amount is being deducted in our wages to make up the thirteenth cheque and medical aid, the TCC system that is used in exploiting the employees. What it means is that the employer is contributing nothing at the end of the day,” he said.

“Even among ourselves as the staff we are being paid unfairly; you'll find an officer being paid same salary as an assistant, we demand that to stop.”

Among other issues, workers claimed that the RAF had misused tax money on Project Siyenza. The project, which launched in 2013, was meant to help the RAF administer claims and clear the existing backlog. However, the workers say Project Siyenza failed to achieve its goals and they are now paying the price. 

NUMSA have requested the Public Protector to investigate the project.

The striking workers are now expected to meet with RAF management at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to negotiate possible solutions to their grievances on Monday.