The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has confirmed that it is planning to carry out a national day of action on 26 November, in an effort to protest against the government’s decision to freeze public-sector wage increases.
This comes after the union convened its sixth plenary session in October. It took place two days after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered the 2020-2021 medium-term budget policy statement.
Government proposed a growth in the public sector wage bill of 1.8% in the current year and an average annual growth of 0.8% over the 2021 medium-term expenditure framework period.
The third year of the 2018 public-sector wage bill will not be implemented.
In a statement, Nehawu accused Mboweni and National Treasury of reversing “the hard-won gains of workers while peeing on collective bargaining”.
“He has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he is anti-workers and cares less about the prosperity of the country.
“For a very long time, the minister has been threatening to cut the size of the public service and implement a wage freeze.”
Nehawu said it will never accept a wage freeze on behalf of its members and workers.
The union further argued that it never agreed with the wage freeze or the non-implementation of salary increases for the current financial year.
“We will never enter into any discussions that seeks to worsen the terms and conditions of work of our members and the working class in general nor negotiate a signed collective agreement.
The union added that its members would march to the Union Buildings and Parliament to “raise sharply the issue of the onslaught on collective bargaining, austerity measures and neoliberal policies by National Treasury and the intended wage freeze”.
“Our own democratically elected government is leading the onslaught on collective bargaining and reneging on binding collective agreements.
“As a result, we have started to observe other employers who are starting to dig in their heels in implementing collective bargaining agreements because they are taking a cue from government.
“The fight to defend collective bargain will be directed to government which has been beating the drums of war for a very long while.
“In this regard, Nehawu is forging ahead with the national strike of community healthcare workers which is scheduled to start on the 11 November across the country.”