Suspended parliament workers return to work today

By Drum Digital
15 September 2016

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) affiliated parliament workers, Sthembiso Tembe and member Michael Sithole will go back to work today

By Nomzamo Ngcobo

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This announcement was made by the secretary to Parliament, Gengezi Mgidlana at a joint media briefing by Parliament and Nehawu in Parliament today. Tembe and Sithole were suspended for disrupting a meeting addressed by Mgidlana in June.

About 200 Parliament workers downed tools, demanding that the two return to work and that the parliament overturn its decision to deduct money from workers’ salaries as part of the no-work, no-pay policy. The money was to be deducted for the days that workers did not work when they engaged in a protest last year. The workers had engaged in a month-long protest over performance bonuses late last year. Mgidlana said, “Issues of discipline are important in any organisation.”

Last week the recent protest was suspended after the Commission for Conciliation, Meditation and Arbitration (CCMA) offered assistance to the union and Parliament. Nehawu deputy general secretary, Zola Saphetha said their members who were to go for a disciplinary hearing have accepted written warnings.

He said this was done to ensure “labour peace”. “Our members have accepted written warnings as part of allowing the processes to unfold. Negotiations were about to reach and agreement, an agreement has been reached but the challenge arose from implementation,” said Sapetha.

He also said the union have been engaging with branches since Monday. He noted that the written warnings are “not a good thing” but he said it was necessary for them to find a solution so they can move forward.

The ongoing protest affected the functioning of Parliament and it could not function the way it is expected to. Sapetha said, “Even though there are issues, we said can we look at these issues while we allow parliament to run.”

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