Workers of the Rearabilwe Orphanage in Ga-Rankuwa embarked on a protest on Wednesday in support of a statement released by the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) earlier this week, which called on members to down their tools for a total national shutdown.
According to Nehawu deputy general secretary Zola Saphetha, the union has been sending memorandums of demands to the Social Development (DSD) Minister Bathabile Dlamini since 2015, but she had not addressed their problems.
Saphetha said the decision for a national strike against the department came after their “marathon negotiations” with Dlamini collapsed last Sunday.
“We sent a memorandum on 10 February demanding that our issues be addressed before 1 April, but when we met with the minister, our negotiations collapsed,” Saphetha said.
He added that the minister was not paying attention to their problems resulting in her having more problems on her plate.
“She had two years to attend to us and fix our problems, but she hasn’t done anything about this.”
Nehawu said their demands were initially tabled to Dlamini in August 2015 and again on 10 February this year, where members were out on a nationwide protest to resubmit their demands.
The minister was given a month to respond to these demands but failed, Saphetha said.
He said some of their demands included the permanent employment of all employees who are under the Gender Based Violence Command Centre and the immediate rollout of uniforms for cleaners and security officers.
“We also demand improved service conditions for all employees in the Department of Social Development.”
Protesters felt the department did not care about them, claiming they were not paid bonuses and their contract did not guarantee insurance and pension.
“The strike will go on until the minister responds to their demand. Our members are already calling for a total indefinite shutdown of Sassa (South African Social Security Agency),” Saphetha said.
The union called for all their members and all social development employees to come out in support of their legitimate demands.