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Nehawu protest outside the Western Cape legislature over onslaught on workers’ rights

Nehawu members protested outside the provincial legislature offices on Tuesday against the non-implementation of the PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2018. Picture: Mthuthuzeli Ntseku/Cape Argus

Nehawu members protested outside the provincial legislature offices on Tuesday against the non-implementation of the PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2018. Picture: Mthuthuzeli Ntseku/Cape Argus

Published Aug 25, 2021

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Cape Town - The provincial National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) structure held a protest outside the Western Cape legislature over what they said was a well-coordinated onslaught directed at collective bargaining and workers’ rights by the government and state entities through the non-implementation of the PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2018.

Nehawu National Day of Action in Defence of Collective Bargaining and Workers’ Rights directed to the Constitutional Court, National Treasury, Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the nine Premiers’ offices.

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The union demanded the provincial government abolish salary level 1 to 3, permanent absorption of Community Health Care Workers (CHW) by the provincial health department and the implementation of the 12% risk allowance for front line workers during the pandemic.

Nehawu provincial secretary Baxolise Mali said the union believed that the Western Cape government had the power to take a decision on their demands without necessarily waiting for the DPSA to take a decision in the PSCBC.

“Nehawu embarked on long, protracted engagements with the state as an employer regarding the non-implementation of the resolution 1 of 2018, particularly the last leg of clause 3.3, but just like all bourgeois states they opted to close their ears, and to use courts to justify their attack on collective bargaining. That is why we are finding ourselves in the Constitutional Court trying to reverse what the Labour Appeals Court has done which declared unlawful an agreement signed not under duress from their side,” he said.

Mali said currently the more than 1 000 CHWs in the province were employed by NGOs and despite the fact that they were contributing to the state including on the vaccination registration they were exploited, paid little and had no benefits.

Nehawu members protested outside the provincial legislature offices on Tuesday against the non-implementation of the PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2018. Picture: Mthuthuzeli Ntseku/Cape Argus

He said the response from other provinces had been different compared with the Western Cape that indicated it wanted to maintain the process of recruiting through NGOs.

Premier Alan Winde spokesperson Cayla Murray said issues raised by the union were related to the public service as an employer which in its nature was transversal and falls within the scope of DPSA and National Treasury.

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She said the implementation of Resolution 1 of 2018 was currently serving before the Constitutional Court, the outcome of which will have to be awaited.

Murray also said it wasn’t feasible for the provincial government to make a decision on salary abolishment as the public service remuneration framework was determined on a national level.

“Salary levels are determined through job evaluation that is based on, among other things, scope and complexity of duties,” she said.

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