NEHAWU Supports The Upcoming COSATU Socio-Economic Strike
Thursday October 1, 2020
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] supports the upcoming socio-economic strike of our federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions [COSATU].
The August 2020 Central Executive Committee [CEC] of COSATU resolved to go on a nationwide strike on the 7th October 2019 to fight corruption, job losses and in defence of collective agreement. As NEHAWU, we are currently at an advanced stage of mobilisation and preparations for the strike. The strike is of importance to us since it seeks to address issues that impact heavily on our members in particular, workers in general and the society at large.
The COSATU strike takes place while NEHAWU is busy implementing a national programme of action aimed at protecting and defending its members and workers against COVID-19 including fighting for improved salaries and bonuses. The national union views the COSATU strike as another platform to highlight the hardship faced by its members and workers especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our members and workers continue to be recklessly exposed to unsafe working conditions by reckless employers. This necessitates that we intensify our demand for full compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety [OHS] Act by all workplaces. Employers have to ensure that risk assessments and infections control and prevention measures are put in place. All workplaces must immediately establish OHS committees and ensure that the OHS Act is implemented in full for the protection of our members and workers.
The austerity measures implemented by government have not only affected service delivery especially to the poor and rural areas but also has adversely affected the issue of staffing in the public service. Government has been pleading poverty when confronted about the low staff numbers in the public service. NEHAWU has always highlighted the problem of understaffing especially in health and education. The outbreak of the coronavirus exacerbated the problem as many health workers had to either go on self-isolation or quarantine and died thus leaving many healthcare institutions with depleted staff compliments. In this regard, we demand that government urgently fills all vacant funded post especially in the public healthcare sector as a means to ensure that we start to build the building blocks for the full implementation of the National Health Insurance [NHI].
The outbreak of the coronavirus in the country has been used by government to undermine collective bargaining and reverse the hard fought gains of the workers. Frontline workers had to face the full might of the virus while being subjected to a life of poverty because government elected to renege on implementing the last leg of the 2018 wage agreement. Government has been leading the charge in undermining collective bargaining and reneging on implementing signed agreements. NEHAWU is not prepared to take this lying down and calls on government to immediately implement the following:
- PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2018 clause 3.3 in full without failure and stop wasting money through the protracted legal processes.
The abolishment of salary level 1 and 2 in the public service and filling all vacant posts in public service.
Full implementation of PSCBC resolution 7 of 2015 on Government employees Housing Scheme and PSCBC Resolution 5 of 2015 on the new danger dispensation.
Full time employment of Community Health Workers at salary level 3 by all provinces and that they must be integrated into the public service.
Moreover, in our support for the national strike, we make the following demands:
- An end to the mass corruption in both private and public sectors which is stealing jobs from the working class and robbing poor communities of much needed services
- Prosecution of those who looted COVID-19 funds
- Housing for public service workers
- Provision of safe and reliable public transport and the scraping of e–tolls including expensive tollgates
NEHAWU encourages all its members, workers and society at large to partake in this national strike.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 082 455 2500