ANC Western Cape supports Nehawu strike

2015-11-17 17:01
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Cape Town - Parliament had reneged on its agreement with workers who were now striking, ANC Western Cape provincial secretary Faeiz Jacobs told the striking National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) members at Parliament on Tuesday.

“Let me say upfront the [ANC] supports this strike,” Jacobs told Nehawu workers gathered in Parliament's old assembly chamber for feedback on negotiations.
“Without knowing all the issues, comrades, to me it is quite clear management is reneging on the negotiations they had with workers.”

He said their strike with Parliament's management, including speaker and ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete and secretary Gengezi Mgidlana, was “very close to home” referring to Nehawu's political alliance with the ANC.

A former Nehawu shop steward, Jacobs said: “We are going to use the political power we have to talk to our leaders that we find a solution.”

He said the strike should have already ended, but egos and personalities could be at play.

“I suspect there's some egos involved here. I suspect there's some personalities involved here. We are going to call on management to come to the party to deal with the substantive issues.

“The issue is there is reneging of a deal on the table,” he said to approval.

With December around the corner, staff members want the bonus issue resolved quickly. They want their bonuses to be calculated over a 12-month total package and not on a month's package as Parliament has interpreted an agreement reached earlier this year.

Some have already complained they have had pay docked for not being at their posts. 

“It's in these hallowed chambers we created the Labour Relations Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. It's in these chambers we fought for employment equity. It wasn't free - workers fought for it,” Jacobs said.

He said he came to tell people the ANC still had leaders, “who understand the democracy of workers starts in the stomach” and the “mother body” could not close its doors on workers.

However, he sailed too close to the edge when he assumed he was speaking to a full house for the ANC.

“You are not only workers here. You are ANC members,” Jacobs said nearing the end of his speech.

“You are ANC members right?”

A hesitant “yes” went back to him from some in the room, but nervous laughter and chatter cut into his final words.

“The [EFF] are here. The [DA] are here,” said one person from the back of the room.

However, his statement “we need to ensure, when the strike is resolved, whether you are in an ANC caucus or not, we can call on you for the ANC's campaign” raised the volume of the restrained chatter with one woman saying: “Haai, no way. Now you are failing.”

The ANC was pulling out all the stops to recoup the Western Cape from the DA in the next national general elections.

Simultaneously, the traditional bonds between the ANC, the Cosatu and the South African Communist Party were being tested as sections of the union movement became more outspoken against the ANC.

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

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