Protesting union and TVET students square up with police outside the Durban ICC. Picture: Supplied

Johannesburg - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) on Wednesday called off the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Community Education and Training (CET) national strike action after signing a settlement agreement with the department of higher education and training (DHET). 

Nehawu General Secretary, Zola Saphetha said the settlement agreement was signed at midday after marathon negotiations that started on Monday morning and concluded on Tuesday evening.

"This settlement represents a victory for our members who have been marginalised by the department ever since the migration took place in 2015," said Saphetha. 

"As Nehawu, we want to applaud our members and members in general for remaining resolute in their fight for better salaries, benefits and improved working conditions. Our strike has been a huge success because of the resilience shown by our members in the picket lines in all the colleges across the country." 

Saphetha said they were elated that all their demands have been met by the department and would watch with hawk eyes the implementation and ensure that the department sticks to the time frames that were agreed upon.

"All employees who have been employed by the department and colleges will now be deemed to be permanently employed which is a victory to close to 3000 workers. The department has committed to the immediate reissuing and implementation of Circular 1 of 2017 and 2 of 2018 in ensuring standardization of salary levels and job profiles as per the job evaluation outcome. Parties have now agreed on tight timelines for this matter that has been on the agenda for many years," said Saphetha.

"This is the victory for CET workers as they will now in 2019 enjoy benefits like all other officials in the public service. The department indicated that the current PPN process has catered for all Ministerial programmes and agrees to the migration of staff currently rendering Ministerial programs, provided for by the PPN model, which is to be implemented 1 April 2020."

Again the national union has ensured that the stagnant salaries were an issue of the past and that services of their members and all other employees in the sector will be corrected and they will be paid their dues. 

Saphetha said the department has committed to the filling of all vacant funded posts and they view this as victory to our members. In line with the outcomes of the lecturers development conference parties agree on the finalisation and implementation of the outcomes.

The department has committed to the dedicated infrastructure development and parties will work on modalities and that there will be no victimisation or intimidation of members and shop stewards after the strike. 

Nehawu urges all members and workers to return to work on Thursday.

African News Agency (ANA)