A meeting was convened this afternoon at the request of the Minister of Social Development, Honourable Susan Shabangu, to resolve issues that led to NEHAWU embarking on a national strike.
The meeting was characterised by robust debates and eventually arrived at a positive outcome for both beneficiaries and workers. Both parties agreed that issues that led to the strike could have been handled much better and committed themselves to build a more cordial relationship with each other. The meeting recommitted themselves to ensuring that beneficiaries are taken care of and treated with dignity. Both parties agreed that a special focus is needed to deal with the consequences of the decommissioning of pay points which has disadvantaged beneficiaries especially those in rural areas.
At the end both parties agreed that Biometrics must be suspended and that functionality on the system must be reversed by Monday, 15 October 2018. After the suspension of the functionality is done tests will be conducted to eliminate any unintended consequences. Workers will revert back to the SOCPEN system that they have been using and are familiar with. An amendment of the KPA’s of grant administrator will be undertaken and SASSA will also look into the issue of remuneration for any extra added tasks to be performed by workers.
Job Evaluations must be undertaken and the Minister also commit to prioritise the issue of skills audit. Going forward, consultation shall be strengthened. The circular instructing employees to bypass the biometric shall be withdrawn officially and a message will be sent to all SASSA managers across the country in this regard. Equally final warnings issued shall be withdrawn too and no disciplinary actions relating to biometrics will be tolerated going forward.
The union will go back to the picket lines tomorrow to report to members on a draft settlement agreement and use that to get a mandate for signing and demobilising. On Monday, all workers are expected to return back to work and parties agreed that the “no work, no pay” principle will not be applied and that no workers will face punitive measures for participating on the strike.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] convened its national public service bargaining forum to process mandates from regional bargaining forums that were convened on the week of the 7th to 14th May 2018 on the current offer by the employer.
NEHAWU as a worker based red union will always listen to the directives of its members at all material times hence it had to table provincial views in the national bargaining forum for consolidation into one national position of the national union regarding the employer’s offer. At this national meeting, the union reaffirms its position that it will always be on the side of its members, as a result the leadership of the national union was mandated to engage the employer to improve its offer on the following three issues: 1) abolishing or enhancement of level 1 to 3, 2) delinking and 3) Resolution 3 of 2009. In this regard, the national union remains committed to its value of taking very serious the process of consulting members before taking decision that have a direct bearing on its members.
After an extensive and rigorous consultation process the union has taken a decision to further robustly engage the employer to consider our initial position. Indeed, our members are extremely unhappy with the offer and hold a strong view that to accept it as it is will be a great loss. These three following issues are sticking areas for our members:
• The abolition of salary level 1 -3. The employer vehemently refuses to abolish or to enhance the lowest salary levels which subjects our members to indecent salaries. Currently, the union is considering to opt for other avenues available at its disposal if the employer refuses to concede to our do or die demands in favour of workers.