Johannesburg EPWP workers protest termination of contracts

2020-03-10 16:13
A worker part of the Expanded Public Works Programme.  (Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

A worker part of the Expanded Public Works Programme. (Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

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Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) have held strikes outside the Department of Infrastructure Development in Johannesburg since Monday after the department said it would terminate 5 500 contracts.

Workers had previously handed memorandums demanding a moratorium on the termination of contracts and permanent jobs and are now waiting on a response from the department.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions claimed the department and other officials had acknowledged that workers who had been on contract for longer than six years had a “legitimate” expectation of permanent employment. 

Workers on Monday occupied the basement of the department in protest, and on Tuesday they had continued a peaceful protest. 

The union alleged the department has only ever sent workers “draft messages” about workers’ grievances. 

The union has alleged that department higher-ups never gave a commitment to workers as to what would happen regarding their contracts or possible employment.

The union said the department promised to respond to employees by Friday. 

Bongiwe Gambu, the EPWP spokesperson, said the programme aimed to create income and poverty relief through temporary work for the unemployed.

It is a nationwide programme that covers all spheres of the government and provides an opportunity for unemployed people to earn an income in the short to medium term, and the programme expects to receive new entrants for this programme this month.

"The current beneficiaries have raised various concerns and to this end we are engaging with them. We will continue to engage with the concerned parties with a view to ending the current impasse," Gambu said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  unemployment  |  protest
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