Ricochet News

Eastern Cape Midlands College says NEHAWU allegations malicious, classes ongoing

Feb 26, 2019
Eastern Cape Midlands College says NEHAWU allegations malicious, classes ongoing

Eastern Cape Midlands College has denied allegations made by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (NEHAWU), which declared a national strike action against the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) nearly three weeks ago.

NEHAWU embarked on a nationwide strike, as permitted by Section 64 of the Labour Relations Act, at various Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVETs) and Community Education and Training (CET) colleges.

Workers affiliated with the union are striking over poor working conditions and salary benefits. 

"The Minister [of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor] has indicted in a press release that the matters related to staff conditions of service and benefits can be concluded in the bargaining council and the Department is ready to find solutions to any outstanding matters," described Elmari Van de Merwe, spokesperson for Eastcape Midlands College.

"EMC unequivocally reiterate our condemnation of acts of violence and intimidation that took place at all campuses during the last week.

"The College wishes to affirm its belief that the EMC community must uphold both the right to peaceful strike actions and the rights of others wishing to continue with their studies."

Eastcape Midlands College obtained a court interdict, classes ongoing

Van de Merwe said thus far, after careful consideration, management elected to obtain an interdict from the Labour Court, which prohibits striking workers from blocking access to and from College premises, interfering with the passage of vehicles, harassing, intimidating, threatening or assaulting non-striking workers, staff and pupils, damaging or causing damage to any of the property and entering campuses within a radius of 100 meters.

"Statements made by EMC NEHAWU members are malicious attempts to discredit the reputation of an achieving institution and to gain credit amongst a minority number of union members who have been participating in the strike action," she added.

"These statements and disruptions of classes have a negative impact on education afforded to deserving students. These actions are strongly condemned by EMC management and will not be tolerated.

"The safety of staff and students is a key priority to EMC. The College has maximised security measures to ensure safety of students and staff members."

Van de Merwe further assured that teaching and learning is ongoing at all campuses and contingency plans have been put into place to minimise time lost.

Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.