Nehawu strike continues at parliament

2015-11-17 12:47
Nehawu strikers in Parliament. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Nehawu strikers in Parliament. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Leaders from the Parliament branch of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) were expected to meet the institution's management at noon on Tuesday in the hope of getting closer to ending a strike.

Nehawu branch chairperson Sthembiso Tembe told a less vocal gathering in the old National Assembly chamber that a framework document setting out exactly what had to be done to end the strike had been prepared and would be discussed at the meeting.

The union's regional and national leadership had been assisting as staffers and Parliament's management continued disagreeing over the formula to be used to calculate bonuses.

Each interprets the words “total package” differently - with Nehawu believing it should be calculated over a year's package and Parliament over a month's package.

Compared with last week's relentless singing, dancing and clapping in the precinct, Tuesday's meeting was subdued, becoming animated only when Parliament's secretary Gengezi Mgidlana's name was mentioned.

Mgidlana has already said Parliament cannot afford the R50m which he said would be needed to pay the bonuses on the Nehawu formula and justified last week's calling of police to remove protesters by saying the institution had to abide by the laws it passed.

He said Nehawu had gone on strike without following legally-prescribed procedures.

Nehawu was also that upset some workers had had their pay docked for days they were on strike.

Although non-striking staff tried to cover the jobs usually done by their colleagues, the strike had a noticeable impact on the business of Parliament.

A committee meeting to finalise a report on amendments to the disaster management amendment bill was delayed as chairperson Richard Madlakane waited for the six members required to make a quorum. MPs had taken longer than usual to get through checkpoints.

MPs usually work through the day during committee meetings, only taking one or two quick comfort breaks with the selection of nuts and yoghurts and the water keeping them going.

Monday's storms in Gauteng also had the knock-on effect of delaying some flights to Cape Town.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Madlakane said the Act itself was already implemented and operational so the impact of not finalising the report immediately would not have a direct negative effect.  

Read more on:    nehawu  |  cape town  |  parliament 2015  |  strikes

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