File picture: Zanele Zulu
File picture: Zanele Zulu

Social Development workers go on strike

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Mar 13, 2017

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Johannesburg  -

National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) members employed

by the Department of Social Development (DSD) on Monday went on a full-blown

strike across the country after negotiations over working conditions with the employer collapsed.

"We are calling on all our members to down tools for

a total and indefinite shutdown until our demands are met. Following a marathon

negotiations with the employer, last night the negotiations collapsed,"

Bereng Soke, Nehawu general secretary said in a statement.

"For more than a month now since the submission of

our memorandum, the employer has failed to table a counter offer, only

releasing an insulting propaganda statement."

Last month, Nehawu mounted nation-wide protest action and

delivered a memorandum of demands but a solution to the dispute is yet to be

reached. The union demands, among other things, the placement of assistant

community development practitioners on the "correct salary" level,

the occupational specific dispensation for social service professionals and

occupations, the introduction of a rural allowance, the absorption of

unemployed social workers on a permanent basis and many others.

The occupational specific dispensation system was

introduced for public sector employees in 2007 in a bid to improve government's

ability to attract and retain skilled employees through increased remuneration.

Read also:  Nehawu slams 'reckless' spending

Soke said, as a result of the collapsed negotiations on

Sunday night, Nehawu leadership in all layers of the national union was

deployed on the ground at picket lines to intensifying the strike.

"We are now in the process of consulting our members

in South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) over their long-standing

demands that have not been addressed by the employer in the same

department," Soke said.

"Our members are already calling for a total

indefinite shutdown of Sassa and union is considering this option. We are now

calling for all our members and all social development employees to come out in

support of their legitimate demands and their fighting union."

Social Development spokesperson, Lumka Oliphant, was not

immediately available for comment after numerous attempts to get hold of her.



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