Parliament strike is over - Nehawu

DECEMBER 2, 2015

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union's strike in Parliament has been called off. On Wednesday, almost four weeks after workers first downed tools, workers accepted an offer from Parliament, after negotiations with Nehawu's national leadership and presiding officers.

Nehawu branch chairperson Sthembiso Tembe on Wednesday said they had accepted the revised offer from Parliament, with conditions.

"Our acceptance is on condition that no employee should be victimised for having participated in the strike. And the illegal deductions from our salaries in November should be reimbursed."

He said they were ending the strike in good faith, as they hoped their conditions would be acceptable to management. The staff would be willing to work extra hours to make up for some of the time lost during the strike.

"But we want our money back as soon as possible. Today, tomorrow or December 15 if that is when we get paid." 

The union said the strike had been unnecessarily dragged out by Parliament management’s failure to meet the workers halfway.

They accused management of not respecting the union and said there was a lot of work that needed to be done to repair the relationship between them and Parliament secretary Gengezi Mgidlana. Tembe said, should the conditions not be accepted by Parliament, they would be "up in arms".

Workers would get a report back on the formal agreement on Friday, and were ready to return to work on Monday, the union said.

Following news of the new agreement, excited workers sang "Iyeza imali" (the money is coming), before dispersing for the day. The union said there was still a lot of work to be done, in terms of working conditions and getting rid of outsourcing in Parliament.

The accepted offer is:

- Those who got a 3.1 to 3.5 rating on their work performance will get 3.5% bonus;

- 3.6 to 3.9 will get 4%;

- 4.0 to 4.5 will get 5%;

- 4.6 to 4.9 will get 6%;

- 5 will get 9%.