192 staff in the Western Cape govt face disciplinary action for participating in Nehawu strike

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Striking Nehawu members.
Striking Nehawu members.
Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo
  • Western Cape health staff who participated in a Nehawu-led strike face disciplinary action.
  • Public servants affiliated with Nehawu went on strike at hospitals and other state facilities earlier this month despite the government obtaining a court order barring the union's wage strike.
  • Western Cape health said the disciplinary process had not been concluded. 

The Western Cape Health Department has initiated disciplinary action against 192 employees who took part in an unprotected strike by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu). 

State employees affiliated with Nehawu went on strike at hospitals and other state facilities earlier this month despite the government obtaining a court order barring the union's wage strike.

Nehawu and several other public servant unions were locked in a wage dispute with the government.

A settlement was eventually reached on 15 March. 

The department's spokesperson Mark van der Heever told News24 that information from its labour relations office indicated that only 20 nurses participated in the strike action across the province, all of whom were employed at Khayelitsha District Hospital.

"Across the province, a total of 192 staff members participated in the strike, which includes all categories of staff. We are in the process of facilitating disciplinary action against those staff members in essential services (including those nurses) who participated in the strike action," he said.

Van der Heever said the disciplinary process had not been finalised.

READ | EFF shutdown: 33 arrested at Woolies in Sandton

Gauteng, Eastern Cape and the Free State were worst affected during the strike, with service delivery hampered in those provinces

The national health department reported several deaths that could be linked to the protest action.

The national department and several provincial departments, including the Western Cape departments of health and social development, were granted court interdicts blocking the essential workers from striking.

Nehawu's Western Cape secretary, Baxolise Mali, told News24 it hadn't received information indicating 192 members had been charged. Mali said the union could only comment once the action had been brought to its attention. 

Nehawu wanted a 10% wage increase, while the government had initially offered 4.7%, before upping its offer.

The matter has an added layer of complexity as the wage negotiations cover several years, including the current 2022/2023 financial year.

A number of other unions representing public servants have accepted government's revised offer of 7.5%

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