Nehawu, Parliament cross swords over agreement

File: AFP
File: AFP

Cape Town – Employee victimisation, reneging on the agreement and the possibility of criminal procedures against union members who participated in the strike.

These are some of the allegations that the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu} made against Parliament on Friday.

This follows the distribution of pre-written affidavits to employees by Parliament, who were asked to give evidence against striking workers who disrupted committees during the three week protest.

And possibility of the striking workers not getting performance bonuses next year still remains.

Parliament's Nehawu chairperson Sthembiso Tembe accused Parliament Secretary Gengezi Mgidlana of being vindictive towards them.

The affidavits call for workers to identify protesters who invaded their offices and forced them to stop working, or who disrupted the work of committees.

"We reject this with the contempt it deserves. On the basis that it cannot be the responsibility of the union to mend this relationship if it does not exist."

They accused Mgidlana of constantly violating the relationship between Parliament and its employees.

The union believes the affidavits will be used to start criminal proceedings against them. But so far, no one has come forward to sign the affidavits.

The agreement was signed by both parties on December 5. It included a clause that parties agreed that no employee would be victimised or disciplined for their participation in the strike.

'This agreement stands'

Parliament, however, reserved the right to discipline employees for misconduct during the strike and the disciplinary policy and procedure would be applied where appropriate.

He said Mgidlana would be violating the terms of the agreement, by not processing their bonuses. This they found out from HR when they made inquiries, he said.

"The chances are that they might not pay December 15. That’s another sign of him being a bully, being a dictator, and we are saying we are not going to accept that."

Parliament's spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs said they rejected the disturbing allegations and accusations by Nehawu.

"Parliament refuses to be drawn into acts of mudslinging which can only exacerbate matters instead of engaging constructively.

"All relevant matters of concern must be raised at the collective bargaining chamber and through the correct channels."

He said Parliament would stick to the agreement

"This agreement stands, and Parliament has no intention of deviating from that agreement."  

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