Picture: African News Agency (ANA).
Picture: African News Agency (ANA).

Coronavirus in SA: Nehawu continues battle with government over salary increases

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Apr 15, 2020

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Johannesburg - The country’s largest public-sector union has promised the government a relentless war after the state’s “insulting” decision not to increase its employees’ salaries this week.

Cosatu affiliate, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), has reacted angrily to the government’s decision not to increase public servants’ wages by between 4.4% and 5.4% depending on salary level.

Nehawu’s national political commission resolved last month to wage a relentless war against the government against what it described as an insult and a “brazen reversal of [workers’] gains and for punishing workers for sins, not of their making”.

The government has not increased its employees' salaries in violation of the wage agreement sealed at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) in 2018.

The salary increases that were due to be effected this month were the final leg of the three-year agreement signed in 2018.

”Mobilisation of our members for the mother of all fights against the onslaught by government will begin in earnest and once again we want to remind government that the lockdown will not last forever,” the union warned.

Nehawu added that when the lockdown ends on April 30 workers will emerge militant, strong, energised and inspired to pick up a real battle against the government and render the state system unworkable.

According to Nehawu, the government’s move did not come as a surprise but the union will do everything in its power to defend the agreement and its implementation.

”Nehawu will never allow its members to be used as scapegoats because of corruption and neo-liberal decisions taken by our government,” it explained.

The union and other Cosatu affiliates organising in the public service have declared a dispute at the PSCBC and are waiting for the matter to be set down for conciliation.

Nehawu is also demanding that the PSCBC proceeds with the conciliation via teleconference or video conference facilities as the matter is very urgent following the extension of the national lockdown by a further two weeks by Ramaphosa.

Affiliates of the Federation of Unions of SA – the Public Servants Association, the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA, the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA, the SA ABET Educators Union, Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie and the United National Public Service Association of SA and Allied Workers Union – are hauling Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu and his department to the Labour Court over the failure to pay the salary increases.

Political Bureau

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