Nehawu protests for wage increase implementation and Covid-19 risk pay

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Nehawu protested outside the Union Buildings in Tshwane, demanding the implementation of a wage increase agreement and other issues relating to Covid-19.
Nehawu protested outside the Union Buildings in Tshwane, demanding the implementation of a wage increase agreement and other issues relating to Covid-19.
Alex Mitchley
  • Nehawu's NEC protested outside of the Union Buildings on Monday.
  • The union wants the president to respond to their demands and resolve their issues.
  • The issues include the implementation of a wage increase agreement and health worker safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union's (Nehawu) national executive committee (NEC) protested outside the Union Buildings in Tshwane on Monday, demanding that the wage agreement for their members be implemented with immediate effect.

The union's NEC protested on the doorstep of the Union Buildings after they submitted a memorandum earlier this month.

Nehawu president Mzwandile Makwayiba said the union was fighting for the implementation of a wage agreement that was reached in 2018, as well as issues relating to health workers who contracted Covid-19.

READ | Nehawu threatens full-blown strike over Covid-19 safety

According to Makwayiba, the agreement, which should have been enforced by 1 April, would have seen a wage increase of between 6% and 8% across the different levels of workers.

He added that there should also be backdated pay on the increases.

"A total of 32 429 health workers had contracted the virus while 257 lost their lives as of September 11, 2020 as per the statistics provided by the National Department of Health," Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba said in a statement on Sunday.

"In this regard, we will not fold our arms while we are losing our members while government continues to insult workers by refusing to implement Resolution 1 of 2018, especially Clause 3.3."

Other issues included risk pay for Covid-19 and the protection of health workers during the pandemic.

Makwayiba said the excuses from government about their financial status did not hold water.

READ MORE | Nehawu set to protest outside Union Buildings for frontline workers

"We learn that billions have been stolen, but you can't steal from an empty purse. You steal from a purse with money," Makwayiba said.

He added that the union should not be punished for issues regarding finances and that those who had stolen should be the ones held to account.

Nehawu, protest
Nehawu protested outside the Union Buildings in Tshwane.

Both Makwayiba and Xaba said they would continue protesting outside the Union Buildings until President Cyril Ramaphosa responded to their memorandum and their demands were met.

The union leadership also spoke about embarking on mass protest action and their intentions to withdraw labour if their demands were not met.

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