School, workers agree to 10% hike

2010-05-25 00:00

A WEEK-LONG strike at Michaelhouse high school came to an end when both parties finally agreed on a 10% salary increment yesterday evening.

The agreement means 97 members of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) will go back to work tomorrow. The strike began on May 14, after negotiations had started in January.

Nehawu provincial secretary Zola Saphetha said yesterday’s negotiations, facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, started at 2 pm and the agreement was finally reached at 6 pm.

“The workers will go back to work on Wednesday. We gave them tomorrow to relax as they have been toyi-toyiing since last week,” said Saphetha.

Initially, workers were demanding 13% while the employer was offering nine percent. Workers went down to 11% on Friday, while rejecting their employer’s proposed offer of 10% for the lowest-paid employees and 7,5% for the highest paid. They also rejected the proposed introduction of bonuses and once-off awards for long service.

“This time we told the employer’s negotiators that had they not come up with something better, we were going to apply for a second strike. Also, the fact that the World Cup’s Local Organising Committee had threatened to move the Paraguay team from the school’s ground to Harry Gwala helped.

“These entire negotiating tactics worked in our favour,” said Saphetha.

Attempts to get hold of Michaelhouse rector Guy Pearson were not successful yesterday evening.

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