Union to give State offer another chance

2010-09-03 11:32

Union leaders will explain the finer points of government’s revised pay offer to striking public servants over the weekend, the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said.

This, after realising that members’ initial rejection of the offer may have been based on incomplete information, it said.
Unions were hoping to have an answer for government on Monday.

“We only gave ourselves one day to consult our members. They rejected it initially, but now we are saying why don’t we give ourselves more time,” said Nehawu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla.

“It is more about ‘have we done justice to consultation?’,” he said.

“The situation is: if members say go back to the street, we will go back to the street, but we don’t want them to come back and say you never told us about the package.”

Unions believe that the initial rejection of government’s latest offer was based on media reports which focused on the 7.5% and R800 housing allowance against their basic demands of an 8.6% increase and a R1 000 housing allowance.

Agreements to discuss medical contributions and the implementation of the minimum service level requirements were among the other points, but these were not widely reported, he said.

Pamla said that when e-mails came from constituencies rejecting the offer, the union had to obey the mandate of its members.

However, Nehawu felt it would be responsible to hold question and answer sessions over the weekend before making a final reply.

He said that once workers decided to go on strike, the “no work, no pay” policy did not seem to have an effect on them. “It’s difficult to explain, but that’s what they do,” he said.

Meanwhile, military health workers and soldiers were still filling empty posts at 62 hospitals around the country today.

Workers clustered outside some of the health care facilities hardest hit by the strike, but health department spokesman Fidel Hadebe said others had started returning to their posts.

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