Nehawu said on Monday that it was mulling over strike action at the department of justice and constitutional development. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said on Monday that it was mulling over strike action at the department of justice and constitutional development. 

Via an emailed statement, the union said its demands had been "perpetually ignored" by the department. 

"Last year, the national union received a certificate to strike and is now considering serving the employer with a notice of strike action.

"In December 2015, the national union marched to the Minister of Justice, Advocate Michael Masutha, to deliver a memorandum of demands. For the past four years the department has done nothing to improve the working conditions of our members. [Resolving] these demands has been frustrated by the fact that the representatives of the department continuously come to the bargaining chamber without any mandates from the management hence no progress has been recorded in our past engagements," said the statement. 

The union had been raising concerns about non-compliance in occupational health and safety (OHS) standards in some of the buildings occupied by the department, it said. 

"The offices of Masters in Marshal Street in Johannesburg are a danger not only to workers but to clients who also frequent the office for services. Nehawu is worried about the safety and health of its members and workers and calls on the department to ensure that they comply with OHS standards.

"The filing offices in both Johannesburg and Cape Town have been drenched in rain water because of leaking roofs. The matter was raised with the department to fix but instead the department resorted to intimidating shop stewards who were demanding answers in relation to fixing the problem. An immediate solution is urgently needed because the department is failing to safeguard the important paperwork at their disposal."

The union said it was also seeking, among several other demands, that representatives of the department at the bargaining chamber be changed and a senior person be immediately appointed. All vacant posts must be filled and all contract employees who had been with the department for more than three months must be deemed permanently employed, it said. 

"The union is finalising the process leading up to the strike action and the notice for a strike will be issued once our internal process are completed. If the employer is to avert the strike action, then the issues raised must be addressed with immediate effect," said the statement. 

African News Agency (ANA)