The National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) says its preparations for a strike at SA Social Security Agency branches across the country are at an advanced stage."The strike comes as a result of the refusal by the Sassa management to resolve the challenges brought about by the migration of the social grant payment system from Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to the South African Post Office (SAPO)," Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha said in a statement on Monday."These challenges include the introduction of biometric enrolment of beneficiaries and staff, grant business process and socpen (social pension) fraud."The Department of Social Development introduced a new biometric payment system in May to improve Sassa's social grants system.The trade union claims that its attempts to have a discussion with Sassa were fruitless. For this reason, its members intend to take to the streets and embark on a countrywide shutdown."We have come to a conclusion that, given the inability to resolve the impasse between Nehawu and Sassa in the boardroom, picket lines are the necessary way to go in trying to twist the arm of [the] employer in order to concede to our demands," Saphetha said.Nehawu is demanding that:biometric enrolment of beneficiaries be suspended;consultation on biometric enrolment be prioritised;job evaluation in the grants administration be undertaken; andthe option of including biometric enrolment in key performance appraisals of specific employees to perform this function be subject to job evaluation results.The biometric system, according to the union, has proved to be a great challenge for Sassa employees and beneficiaries."The biometric enrolment for beneficiaries is a new function that workers were not consulted on and the employer implemented it unilaterally. The system has numerous flaws which is to the detriment of beneficiaries who rely on social grants for [their] existence and workers too," Saphetha said.Nehawu is calling on all 17 million beneficiaries in the country to join them."This fight is on behalf of all the beneficiaries, not only selfishly about our members and workers in general. Hence we call upon all South Africans to join our envisaged full-blown strike until all the demands are met," Saphetha said.