Strike 'will not affect business of Parliament'

2015-11-09 19:03
Dan Calderwood, News24

Dan Calderwood, News24

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Cape Town - The business of Parliament will continue, even with the majority of staff on strike, secretary Gengezi Mgidlana said on Monday.

Parliamentary staff - including committee secretaries, content advisers, cleaners and communication liaisons - downed tools on Friday. On Monday, they vowed to continue the strike until their demands were met.

The staff members, affiliated with the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), are demanding a change in the performance bonus structure, among other things.

They want it to be based on annual packages, instead of 100% of the monthly salary agreed to earlier this year. Other areas of concern include the security re-vetting staff, which was started in Parliament last month.

Mgidlana said they had contingency plans in place to make sure the business of the House continued.

"We will try to make the necessary adjustments for the work of committees and will make sure [they] are able to do their business."

He said they would make use of non-striking workers to keep Parliament functioning, though they would not say how many were involved.

He said the strike went against a recognition agreement signed by both parties on how to handle disputes.

Mgidlana said the demands of the striking workers relating to bonuses were new, and not part of the issues already under negotiation.

Parliament was continuously engaging with union leaders, he said, and would look at all options. He would not be drawn on the possibility of getting a court interdict against workers.

The office of the ANC chief whip said it was concerned about the strike, which "has the potential to impact on the operations of Parliament and the intensive programme of both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in the few remaining weeks of the 2015 parliamentary programme".

Nehawu's Parliament branch chairperson, Sthembiso Tembe, said on Monday that it was unfair that workers got paid a small portion for performance bonuses based on monthly salary, when they were being assessed on work for the whole year.

"That is not in line with any other government department," Tembe said.

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

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