Nehawu Parliament workers down tools

2016-06-29 13:10
Nehawu workers at Parliament down tools over suspended members. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Nehawu workers at Parliament down tools over suspended members. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Nehawu members working at Parliament downed tools on Wednesday over the suspension of the union's branch chairperson.

Gathered outside the precinct on Wednesday, National Education Health and Allied Workers Union members told News24 on condition of anonymity that they would not work until the precautionary suspensions of Sthembiso Tembe and Michael Sithole were lifted.

"We will not work until these frivolous charges are withdrawn," said one member, as employees, ranging from security officials to language experts and researchers stood in groups outside.

A huge Nehawu banner was put up at the entrance to the National Council of Provinces building.

Tembe and Sithole were put on precautionary suspension on Tuesday.

"I was suspended with immediate effect after they claimed I disrupted a meeting and incited the workers," Tembe told News24 on Tuesday night.

Meetings abandoned

Last week three other staffers were accused of gross insubordination or gross misconduct during the meeting and were given notices of disciplinary action.

Nehawu has been at loggerheads with Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana since last year's protracted strike which was mainly over pay increases, bonus calculations and new security vetting.

At its height, the Speaker Baleka Mbete called in the police and stun grenades were fired to break up protests by those on strike. Protesters also barged into committee meetings.

The union has openly expressed its dissatisfaction with Mgidlana, and two meetings last week between Mgidlana and Nehawu were abandoned.  Nehawu members sang while Mgidlana was trying to speak. 

At one meeting Mgidlana's party left and at the other, Nehawu walked out.

Nehawu said their unresolved issues include a dispute over salary deductions for days not worked during last year's strike.

Comment was not immediately available from Parliament's spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs.

A delegation from Parliament was attending a function in Kliptown in Soweto to round off the country's Youth Month activities. Parliament is on recess so that MPs can work in their constituencies but other work, such as finding a new Public Protector, continues.

Nehawu workers at Parliament down tools over suspended members. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Read more on:    nehawu  |  cape town  |  parliament 2016  |  strikes

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