There appears to be no end in sight to the strike in the social development sector, under the auspices of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).
There was hope on Thursday that the industrial action, which started about two weeks ago amid the social grants debacle, would come to an end on Friday, but no official announcement to that effect was made.
Speaking to Saturday Citizen, Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba said there was anticipation that the consultative process with union members would have been concluded by the end of business on Thursday.
“The consultative process is still continuing and only once that has been completed will we revert back to the employer,” Xaba said.
The employer this week presented labour with a revised offer, but workers don’t seem to be entirely happy with it.
Although he was not at liberty to disclose the full contents of the employer’s revised offer, Xaba said the parties concerned were not that far away from reaching agreement.
“The general feeling among the members we have already consulted is that they still want improvements in certain areas.
“As things stand so far, it is unlikely that the strike will end any time soon, but it is our members who will give us a mandate on the way forward,” Xaba said.
Workers are demanding, among other things, the introduction of a rural allowance, the absorption of unemployed social workers on a permanent basis and improved conditions of service for employees in the department.
The major stumbling block, according to a source, is around the rural allowance.
The effects of the strike have already been felt this week amid reports of intimidation and violence against nonstriking workers.
Earlier this week, a six-month-old baby died after she was moved from Walter Sisulu Child and Youth Care Centre in Soweto to Bethany Trust Home in Krugersdorp.