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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


DPSA granted interdict against Nehawu ‘indefinite’ strike

Government says it respects workers right to strike, but essential services cannot be disrupted.


The Department of Public Service and Administration has been granted an interdict to prevent National Education Health Workers’ Union (Nehawu) from joining a planned ‘indefinite’ strike scheduled for Monday 6 March 2023.

The DPSA said it received a strike notice from the health and educators union on 24 February 2023.

“Government respects the rights of trade unions to organise and the rights of members to embark on peaceful and lawful protests, including pickets and strikes,” said the department in a statement.

“It is the commitment of government to ensure that these hard fought for rights are discharged in a manner that does not disrupt service delivery, especially in relation to essential services such as health,” it said.

ALSO READ: ‘We barely have enough money to go to work’ – Public workers protest 3% pay hike

DPSA said “matters of mutual interest” can still be resolved during the collective bargaining process at the appropriate forum established for such purpose.

“Government will continue to call on all the trade unions to go back to the Bargaining Chamber to negotiate and resolve matters through dialogue,” it said.

Public sectors plan to down tools

Last month, public servants marched to the National Treasury office in Pretoria for a second time this year to protest against the 3% wage increment implemented without labour unions’ consensus.

Demonstrators from Nehawu, SA Police Union, Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) and Cosatu said the government still owed them increases from 2020.

“After butchering public servants in 2020/21 and 2021/22, in the current financial year of 2022/23 the employer still expects us to accept a pathetic 3% wage increase,” insisted the union on their website.

ALSO READ: Cosatu, Saftu ready to go on strike, but major union PSA won’t join

“Yet this is a financial year in which the cost of living skyrocketed as the inflation hit a 13-year record of 7.8% in July last year and remained above 7%,” added Nehawu.

One of Cosatu’s biggest affiliates – the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), and trade unions affiliated to Fedusa (Federation of Union South Africa), did not support the strike action, despite doing so last year.

Their affiliates now say they are ready to move on and begin talks on the 2023/24 settlement.

Compiled by Narissa Subramoney and additional reporting by Marizka Coetzer

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