Threat to down tools at Parliament

Parliamentary staff picket outside the gates at lunch time on Wednesday. Picture: Janet Heard
Parliamentary staff picket outside the gates at lunch time on Wednesday. Picture: Janet Heard

Staff have threatened to down tools on the precinct today if there is no breakthrough in their protracted stand-off with the secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana.

This warning was made by Sthembiso Tembe, the suspended parliamentary branch chair of the National Education, Health & Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), during a lunch-time picket outside Parliament’s gates yesterday.

Addressing protesters, Tembe said that two demands needed to be met by this morning to avoid strike action: suspensions against Nehawu members needed to be lifted and disciplinary charges withdrawn amid claims of a kangaroo court, and deductions from salaries relating to last year’s strike needed to be put on hold.

Nehawu has asked members to assemble from 8am for an update.

Tension has been building at Parliament since the end of June, when Tembe – a parliamentary researcher - was first suspended.

He and five other Nehawu members are facing an internal disciplinary process after they were accused of disrupting staff meetings in June.

Parliamentary spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs said last night that he was not aware of any notification being received about any planned action.

“Any strike action would be a serious setback because it would take us back to 2015 and would be illegal.”

Nehawu staff downed tools last year over performance bonuses and staff grading.

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