We're not criminals - Nehawu workers at Parliament

2015-11-27 12:17
Parliament's locked out Nehawu workers (Jenni Evans, News24)

Parliament's locked out Nehawu workers (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town – Striking National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) Parliament workers believe they have a right to protest inside the parliamentary precinct.

And they have vowed to contest the interim court interdict obtained by Parliament, which prohibits the group from entering or protesting inside.

Around 100 striking workers walked to the Labour Court on Friday to try and convince the judge that the interdict, which bars them from protesting inside, not be made permanent.

The workers have been locked out since Wednesday, with a strong police presence checking names against a register of protesters.

READ MORE: Nehawu's Parliament bonus negotiations at a 'critical stage'

Nehawu branch chairperson Sthembiso Tembe said their lawyers were unable to get written reasons for the granting of the interim interdict so had not been able to prepare to oppose it being made permanent.

As a result, the matter was postponed to next Friday for oral argument, and the interim interdict will stay in place until then.

Tembe told workers outside Parliament on Friday they were getting angry about being locked out.

“They lock us outside but they don’t come with solutions. They must open this gate and let us inside. We cannot be locked outside like we are criminals. Why are our photos distributed as if we are terrorists?”

He said the police should not be used unnecessarily for political reasons, but rather used to fight crime.

Nehawu members would continue defying all interdicts that were obtained against them, they vowed.

Protesting Nehawu members (Jenni Evans, News24)

Tembe also told workers that negotiations, which had been billed to end on Friday, had been postponed to Monday due to the unavailability of one presiding officer. They might have news by Tuesday.

“But the end is near comrades. People are delaying the process because of egos. They don’t want to admit that they used forceful measures to end the strike, but they did not succeed. Even the riot police who came could not destroy us.”

Tembe pledged that Parliament secretary Gengezi Mgidlana’s days were numbered "as he is the cause of what is happening here in Parliament", blaming him for the breakdown in relationship between workers and Parliament.

The workers have been on strike since November 6. They are fighting for a change in the payment of performance bonuses, among other things.

(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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

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