KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Siboniso Duma has met with the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), after the labour organisation threatened to ‘gatecrash’ a meeting he had scheduled with staff.
Nehawu had complained that Duma had been in office for 16 months but attempts to engage with him had been fruitless.
The union last week wrote a letter that has been circulating on social media, to Duma expressing its frustration at his failure to engage with him.
The letter was in response to a meeting scheduled by Duma between him and staff from all department and entities, for Tuesday at the Midmar dam in Pietermaritzburg.
The union, said in its letter: “We were shocked to hear from our shop stewards that you will be meeting our members who are workers of the department and entities without meeting with the leadership of the unions first.
“This is unacceptable, if the meeting proceeds the union will (be) forced to invite itself in that meeting,” Nehawu wrote.
Ntokozo Nxumalo, Nehawu’s deputy provincial secretary, said: “We have made several requests to meet because we want to understand his vision for his department.
“He is a politician who is leading workers who belong to a trade union and this is an important discussion.”
Duma subsequently met the union on Monday, and said he had assigned the acting head of the department Thandeka Ellenson and CFO Khaya Mthethwa to work with Nehawu’s leadership on a number of issues.
These include speeding up the appraisal processes linked to the Performance Management and Development System; speeding up of the filling of vacant posts; gradual insourcing of staff such as cleaners as part of ensuring a better life; and the participation of Nehawu in the processes around the rationalisation of public entities.
“It is for these reasons we have offered to ensure that the acting head of department (Ellenson) has a solid line to Nehawu leadership in the province,” Duma said.