South Africa

South Africa

GroundUp: Sassa warns workers not to strike

GroundUp: Sassa warns workers not to strike

The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union has vowed to down tools on Wednesday. By Barbara Maregele for GROUNDUP.

First published by GroundUp

Amid public concern over the payment of social grants to millions of South African Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries on April 1, staff have been cautioned not to join National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) if it goes on strike on Wednesday.

In a press statement, Sassa said it had received a notice of a secondary strike dated March 16, 2017 from Nehawu. “It is the submission of the agency that it has not been given the appropriate seven days notice as the Act prescribes. We acknowledge the right of employees to engage in industrial action.”

Sassa says the strike “is illegal” and “unlawful”, and staff were “strongly advised” not to participate.

Last Monday, Nehawu said “marathon negotiations” had “collapsed”.

“Our demands were first tabled to the employer in August 2015 and this year on the 10 February 2017 our members were out in a nationwide protest action to resubmit the demands. For more than a month now since the submission of our memorandum, the employer has failed to table a counter offer,” Nehawu said in a statement.

In addition to  salary level demands, Nehawu wants uniforms for cleaners and security guards, the introduction of a rural allowance for those working in rural areas, and for the department to employ qualified social workers on a permanent basis.

On Friday, the union was served with an interdict obtained by the Department of Social Development, preventing members from participating in further strike action.

But Sassa staff may yet down tools alongside 6,000 other members in the social development sector on Wednesday. Nehawu national spokesman Khaya Xaba said the union would continue strike action until an agreement was reached with government despite the interdict. DM

Photo: Striking parliamentary workers affiliated to the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) protest outside the gates to Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa 08 September 2016. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

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