No money for new bonuses - Parliament

2015-11-12 21:23
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Parliament would need an extra R50m if it agreed to pay performance bonuses at the level that National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) members were demanding, secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana said on Thursday.

“We don't have the money,” said Mgidlana during a break in negotiations to end the strike by several hundred employees at the precinct.

The bone of contention was that employees want payment for bonuses to be based on 12 months' salary, not on a month's salary.

Parliament and Nehawu had already agreed that there would be an increase from 70% to 100% of the monthly salary for performance bonuses, he said. But Nehawu had changed its mind and wanted the 12-month structure.

Nehawu has now put its “proposal” in writing. He said Parliament simply had not budgeted for the additional expense should they give in to workers' demands. Mgidlana went on to say that some posts were already frozen to save money.

He denied that the 2010 interdict that Parliament revived on Tuesday was invalid, after workers said they had used an invalid interdict for Speaker Baleka Mbete to call the police on them.

He said only a court could decide if the 2010 interdict was invalid.

The second interdict obtained on Wednesday was to drive home the point of the first interdict, he said.

On Wednesday employees were driven away from the steps of the National Council of Provinces building with stun grenades, with Sonwabile Ngxiza, researcher to Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, temporarily detained.

Mgidlana confirmed that employees on strike would have their pay docked, saying this was in line with the Labour Relations Act.

He said Parliament had written this law, so Parliament had a duty to abide by it. 

He responded to a question regarding some striking employees calling for his removal, saying he was not in a “popularity contest” and would prefer to be judged on his work.

Another employee complaint was that parliament could find money for a new vetting process, but not for their increases.

He said the vetting process did not cost anything because it was done by the State Security Agency.

The vetting was because some staffers were complaining about others not being vetted. He added that security vetting also lapsed after a period and was customarily done again.

Meanwhile, committees and a National Assembly sitting went ahead uninterrupted, he said.

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

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