Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Nehawu vows to intensify public sector strike

Nehawu has accused government of misleading and confusing workers on its 4.7% wage offer.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has vowed to intensify its public service strike until their demands are met by government.

Nehawu strike

The union’s leadership on Sunday afternoon held a media briefing in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on the collapsed wage negotiations in the public sector.

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Public servants affiliated with the union have been staging countrywide protests since last Monday over a wage dispute with government. The union is demanding a 10% wage increase, while government is offering 4.7%.

The strike action, which has been interdicted by the Labour Court after the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) approached the court, has seen violent protests at essential health and other government facilities, with some patients being turned away from hospitals.

At least four people have died as a result of the strike action, according to a preliminary report by the national Department of Health.

WATCH: At least four dead due to Nehawu strike

Government has condemned the protests and emphasised that the principle of no work no pay will apply to public servants taking part in the strike during working hours.

With other public service unions expressing an interest to join the strike, the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) last week called on all parties involved in the wage negotiations to return to the bargaining council to continue with talks.

The Labour Appeal Court on Friday heard Nehawu‘s appeal application on the enforcement order of the interdict by the DPSA. Judgment has been reserved for Monday.

4.7% wage offer

Nehawu secretary-general Zola Saphetha on Sunday accused government of misleading and confusing workers on its 4.7% wage offer.

Saphetha said government was offering public servants an “insulting” 0.5% salary increase. He said the 4.7% offer included the 4.2% cash gratuity that workers have been receiving.

“We need to clarify that the percentage that the employer is actually offering is a mere 0.5 % due to the fact that the gratuity will now go into the baseline, which means that the workers are once again robbed by the government.

“In addition, the conversion of the R1 000 cash gratuity into a 4.2% wage increase to the pensionable baseline is going to be regressive and therefore at the expense of the workers in the lower salary levels.”

The union added that it remained resolute that “no amount of litigation or intimidation by government will deter it from fighting for public servants, defending collective bargaining, and the rights of workers.”

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