The Road Accident Fund’s offices in Eco Park, Centurion.Picture: Etienne Creux

Johannesburg – The National Union of Mineworkers says staff at the beleaguered Road Accident Fund are picketing.

In a statement, the union says the workers, who have been on strike since last Thursday, will picket at 10am on Monday.

It says: “The RAF is paralysed by mismanagement and incompetence and, as Numsa, we will not tolerate this situation anymore. Currently this institution owes over R8 billion rand in debt to its creditors.”

Numsa also alleged workers are forced to work without basic tools required for them to do the work of processing compensation for the most vulnerable sectors of our society because of gross mismanagement.

Numsa last Thursday also claimed a dispute with the RAF over salary increases.

Read also: Numsa claims lack merit – RAF

In a lengthy statement issued on Thursday, the fund said the union’s claims over why its members are going on strike were “unreasonable and without merit”.

In a statement earlier on Thursday, the union said at least 1 500 of its members were going to down tools because the beleaguered entity is “in turmoil”.

RAF CEO Eugene Watson responded that Numsa’s reasons for the strike over salary scales are “are unreasonable and without merit”. The fund is funded from fuel levies, but has had difficulties paying claims.

“Numsa’s demands are rooted in their insistence that the RAF adopt unverified, nebulous proposed salary scales, which the fund cannot accede to. Numsa, which represents just under 36 percent of the entire staff complement, is one of two unions operating within the RAF workplace.”

It says there are employees who do not belong to either union.

Watson adds Numsa’s argument is unsound because the RAF is insolvent and has severe cash constraints, yet endeavours to maintain an effective remuneration framework and remains an employer of choice.

Read also: Road Accident Fund staff strike over 'turmoil'

He also notes it has increased productivity, while trimming operational costs, and at the same time committing to remunerating employees fairly, effectively and in line with policy principles which are aimed at attracting and retaining employees.

Watson adds the RAF benchmarks salaries yearly and adjusts remuneration accordingly.

“One must remember the objective of the exercise is to ensure that remuneration for a particular job level remains on par with the market and best practice remuneration levels.”

Watson says, after the 2016 salary implementation, some staff lodged a grievance, which was referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, and its arguments were disputed. The RAF, he says, adjusts salaries yearly to, at least, be in line with inflation.

The dispute could not be resolved at the CCMA and a certificate on non-resolution was then issued by the CCMA.

Watson adds a “no work, no pay” principle will apply, while no overtime will be granted to employees who are on strike.

“The RAF will continue to engage NUMSA through the various mediation processes and no public engagements will be done regarding the matter until an agreement has been concluded.”