Nehawu wins case against against Public Works Department
Johannesburg – The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) wants to intensify its fight against employers who flout rules and treat workers with sheer disregard.
This comes after the union won a case of unfair dismissal of its members at the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI).
Nehawu national spokesperson Khaya Xaba said members were employed by the department for many years on contract, which was renewed each year by the department.
He said in October 2019 they were served with another contract extension which was to remain effective from October to December 2019.
“In January 2020, the workers had a reasonable expectation that they would receive letters confirming further extensions of the contract as per practice. However, they were told that there would not be any contract renewals and this was notwithstanding the fact that they had not been served with notices for termination,” said Xaba.
Xaba said the union then declared an unfair dismissal dispute which was filed with the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) and a conciliation hearing was set down for March 2020.
The matter remained unresolved and was filed for arbitration. The arbitration was set down for July 2020 and continued until March 5, 2021. An award dated March 30, 2021 was issued on April 16 directing the department to reinstate all the unfairly dismissed workers.
“It is common cause that the DPWI throughout the legal processes inclusive of the pending review applications in the matters that relate to the dismissal of contract workers, has been pursuing personal and political interests at the expense of service delivery and as such wasting exorbitant amounts of taxpayers’ monies on unnecessary litigation processes.
“In this regard, Nehawu warns the department that it is invoking the public service prescripts and will be seeking that those that have abused the public purse must be directed to pay from their coffers for all those legal costs with interest,” he said.
Xaba maintained that Nehawu would now focus on forcing the implementation of the award and ensuring that all the workers are reinstated. “This win for workers proves that they have a giant and fighting union on their side which is preoccupied with defending their rights against intransigent employers,” said Xaba.