Nehawu public service strike to commence on Monday
The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union public service strike was set to go ahead as planned on Monday.
The union explained on Sunday evening it had applied for leave to appeal an interdict to halt its protest, thus allowing its members to go on strike as planned.
“Nehawu is highly disappointed with the ruling of the labour court, interdicting the public service strike action which was to commence from March 6. The court ruling follows an urgent application by the department of public service and administration (DPSA) heard in the Johannesburg labour court on March 4, after being postponed from March 3.”
“The court decided to grant the interdict to DPSA, though the judge never provided any substantial reasons for his judgment, as he advised he shall only deliver his reasons on Monday. Nehawu is shocked by this decision to interdict us with no reason provided. The leadership of the union met this afternoon with the legal team to deliberate on a suitable legal recourse that included filling to appeal the judgment,” Nehawu said.
The union filed its leave to appeal at 3.30pm “to give a go ahead to our strike commencing tomorrow morning, March 6 until the leave to appeal is determined.”
“This means that, by implication, Section 18 of the Superior Courts Act 10 of 2013 kicks in, which automatically suspends operation of the court order until the leave to appeal is determined. Therefore our strike continues on March 6 as planned,” Nehawu said.
On February 24, the union served its notice go on an indefinite strike from Monday. Nehawu has been locked in a long-standing battle against government over wages.
“Nehawu reiterates, once again, that this sixth administration is hell-bent on destroying collective bargaining, rights of workers and made it it’s task to reverse and rollback the gains made by workers over the years.”
“This is evident through numerous actions and continuous appetite of approaching labour courts in resolving matters of collective bargaining as opposed to taking advantage of institutions such as bargaining councils.
“Workers have been on the receiving end of the onslaught of this sixth administration, including poor working conditions, despite public service workers contributing daily to the betterment of the SA people, especially the working class and the poor on the front-line of service delivery,” Nehawu said.
The union said for its work to be effective, the public service must have a strong capacity in terms of the suitable headcount of workers in different departments and work stations.
“It must also have capabilities in terms of the necessary skills and ongoing training support. Today, the public service has been severely weakened, especially its capacity because of the moratorium imposed on the filling of vacancies as a result of the multiple years of the Treasury’s austerity measures.”
“Therefore, the improvements in our working conditions, including improvement in pay, is a necessary means of strengthening the public service. Lastly, having filed the application for leave to appeal, we are forging ahead with our strike, which will demonstrate to government the seriousness with which we take the concerted effort to underplay the role and significance of public servants who are at the coalface of service delivery.”
The union said it was “more than confident” that workers would come out in numbers to the picket lines to send an unequivocal message to government.
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