No money to meet protesters' demands – Parliament

2015-11-16 09:41
Riot police outside Parliament (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

Riot police outside Parliament (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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Cape Town - The financial implications of agreeing to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) demands are unbudgeted for and unaffordable for Parliament given the shoestring budget it is managing, a parliamentary spokesperson said on Sunday.

In a statement, a spokesperson said Parliament “is committed to continuing discussions” with the union to “resolve the impasse which has seen the union embark on an illegal strike last week”.

The employees, who perform a wide range of functions from cleaning and catering to seeing to the smooth running of the various committee meetings as well as access control at the visitors' centre, have been on strike since last week Friday.

Parliament believes they are acting illegally because Parliament is considered an essential service - a sector not permitted to strike.

A formal dispute was also not lodged ahead of the strike, which Nehawu has acknowledged.

According to the Parliament statement, the main disagreement between the two parties “resulted from a new proposal by the union to change the calculated payment of performance bonuses for staff members based on a monthly remuneration of total cost to company to an annual total package”.

No extra funds

“Parliament and Nehawu signed a two-year agreement which stipulates the calculation of performance bonuses to be done on the basis of the total monthly cost of employment as opposed to the previous 70% pensionable portion,” the statement reads.

According to Parliament, Nehawu proposed late in October a further review of the formula to use the total annual package.

“This effectively amounted to a new proposal without following due process as contemplated in the substantive and the recognition agreement.

“In any event, the financial implications of this proposal are unbudgeted for and unaffordable for Parliament given the shoestring budget we are managing. Parliament believes that both parties must commit to the deliberations on finding a resolution.

“The perspective that the union must demand and management must deliver is based on a win-lose mentality. In this instance it provides an unhelpful approach that the union must demand and management on its own must provide a solution.”

According to the statement, there are no extra funds to meet protesters demands as “Parliament, like the rest of the country, is going through a difficult financial experience”.

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

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