Pretoria - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) is set to embark on a total shutdown of colleges to twist the hand of the Department of Higher and Training to meet demands.
Spokesperson for the union Khaya Xaba said previous marches and pickets have not convinced the department to take seriously the plight of workers and students in TVET and Community Education and Training (CET) colleges.
He said the national strike will commence in the workplaces on Thursday and run indefinitely until minister Naledi Pandor’s department moves to address all grievances to show it’s concerned and eager to assist employees.
The union wants increases in the salaries of its members because they have been stagnant since 2015. This, according to Nehawu, must be addressed with the implementation of performance bonuses and grades progression.
Nehawu wants to apply Section 198B of the Labour Relations Act for all qualifying contractor workers to avoid colleges terminating contracts unilaterally. This allowed some colleges to even appoint staff on contracts longer than it was allowed.
Nehawu general-secretary Zola Saphetha said: “There are many employees who have no pension deductions in CET colleges. This affects approximately 11 000 lecturers. Some of the staff members have been employed for more than 10 years and when they reach retirement age, their last pay cheque becomes their only retirement benefit.”
Xaba said Nehawu was not going to be disruptive but it was going to pull out its members from working as it is its right.