Nehawu, Parliament battle to resolve issues

2015-11-12 11:17
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PICS: Striking workers at Parliament met with police force

Striking workers at Parliament have been met with riot police, who have fired stun grenades on the crowd.

Cape Town - Representatives of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) and Parliament's management will meet again on Thursday morning, with the union vowing that its strike will continue until members' demands are met.

"The status quo remains; there was no agreement last night. We will meet with the management again at around 10:00 today [Thursday]. The strike continues,” said a text message to News24 from Sthembiso Tembe, chairperson of Parliament's branch of the Nehawu.

The union's president Mzwandile Makwayiba is also understood to be jetting in to Cape Town for Thursday's talks.

Nehawu members had already started gathering inside the precinct early on Thursday morning.

This is in spite of warnings that striking employees' pay will be docked, and two interdicts preventing protests in the precinct in the heart of the Cape Town CBD.

The interdicts do not lock workers out but they prevent what Parliament's management see as disruptive protests.

Both parties hoped to resolve a dispute over Nehawu wanting to renegotiate a clause of a two-year labour agreement at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Researcher detained

The meeting followed the brief detention of Sonwabile Ngxiza, a researcher and content specialist in the Deputy Speaker's office, when police charged at protesters to stop them from entering the National Council of Provinces building which adjoins the National Assembly.

Parliament's secretary Gengezi Mgidlana said the protesters had violated the Powers, Privileges and Immunities Act by disrupting committees and stopping the work of Parliament.

Speaker Baleka Mbete had called the police to the precinct, he said.

As protesters were being pushed away from the steps and stun grenades boomed, they shouted: "We work here!"

Mgidlana said they had simply downed tools in Friday in a bid to reopen the clause in the agreement over performance bonuses. In the current agreement, performance bonuses are calculated on a cost-to-company formula. They want to revisit this but Parliament says they must wait for the 2017 negotiations to open.

Mgidlana said Parliament is also a National Key Point, hence the police action.

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

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