Nehawu suspends strike after reaching agreement with govt
Nehauw says workers should report any incidences of intimation as they return to work.
Soldiers deployed to the hospital watch Nehawu strikers outside the Thelle Mogoerane hospital in Vosloorus, 13 March 2023.. Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has told its members and workers to return to work after reaching a settlement agreement with the government on Wednesday.
The union said in a statement that the government had agreed the residual matters from the 2022/23 wage agreement would be concluded along with the 2023/24 wage negotiations.
The strike was suspended to process the settlement agreement together with salary adjustment for the financial year 2023/24.
“The government has recognised the need to have a Minimum Service Level Agreement. In the wake of the strike, the government has now appreciated the urgency of engagement on the draft framework on the MSLA within 6 months period,” said Nehawu.
“We wanted to address the issue of unilateralism and the attack on collective bargaining since 2020 which escalated with the 2022/23 public service wage negotiations.”
Nehawu commends workers
Nehawu said the strike action was against implementation of “austerity measures” by the government
which saw sustained wage freeze in the Public Service since 2020 with the fall in the average wage of public servants in relation to Cost of Living.
“Through the strength of the workers’ power we managed to ensure that the government goes back to the bargaining council to negotiate salary increase for the year 2022/2023 something that up to now government arrogantly thought it was concluded and closed.”
“As part of reversing unilateralism, a principle agreement was concluded that government would not resort to unilateralism in the event of a dispute but would explore and exhaust available dispute resolution mechanism within the council processes.”
As members return to work, the union and its structures said it would be available to support and intervene in instances of “victimisation” or “intimidation” by the employers in contravention of the settlement agreement.
“Given this achievement, we wish to confirm that the union is proud and salute its members and workers for waging a relentless struggle, keeping the fierce picket lines and conducting a generally peaceful strike.”