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Nehawu KZN plans national wage increase protest in Pietermaritzburg

Tshifhiwa Mulaudzi, chairperson of Nehawu SMU branch, outside the entrance of SMU where workers affiliated to Nehawu protested demanding a salary increase for workers. | Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA).

Tshifhiwa Mulaudzi, chairperson of Nehawu SMU branch, outside the entrance of SMU where workers affiliated to Nehawu protested demanding a salary increase for workers. | Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA).

Published Aug 22, 2021

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DURBAN - The KwaZulu-Natal National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) said it would be participating in a peaceful wage protest on Wednesday.

The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) issued an advisory of a planned picket by the union. It said the DPSA had received correspondence from the national office of Nehawu, indicating that it intended to embark on pickets at the offices of the DPSA, National Treasury and the offices of the Premier on August 24.

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The department said the planned picket did not comply with regulations.

In a statement the DPSA said: “No demonstrations are allowed on the premises of departments. Measures are put in place to protect state property, employees not participating in the unprotected pickets and members of the public seeking access to government facilities and services.”

Senzo Mchunu, then DPSA Minister, last month, welcomed the conclusion of the collective agreement on wage increases in the public service.

The collective agreement was signed by the majority of labour unions, which included South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), Health & Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa), Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) and Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa).

During the negotiations, the government offered a 1.5% increase, while the unions demanded a consumer price index (CPI) increase, which was projected at 3.1%, and a 4% across the board increase on the cost-of-living adjustment.

Eight unions represented 1.2 million state employees in national and provincial government departments.

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Nehawu KZN Provincial secretary Ayanda Zulu said the union was not deterred by what it said were intimidation tactics.

Zulu said Nehawu was still appealing the wage dispute matter at the Constitutional Court over workers’ salaries.

“The national picket has been confirmed. What the government is trying to do is to undermine collective bargaining processes.

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“We will be picketing outside the Premier’s Office in Pietermaritzburg on 24 August. We will not exceed more than 100 people. As a health union, we cannot be seen to be undermining Covid-19 protocols,” said Zulu.

KZN Premier spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said although the local government had not been made aware of the planned protest at this stage, it would engage the demonstrators. “Government is a listening government and will engage with every stakeholder to hear their genuine concerns.”

THE MERCURY

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