The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) in Parliament has finally signed a salary wage agreement with Parliament following a long protracted deadlock with the employer.
The agreement also extends to the nine Provincial Legislatures. It will avert NEHAWU’s threat to strike. The strike could have crippled the business of the national and provincial legislatures including the upcoming State-of-the-Nation and State-of-the-Province Addresses.
The agreement includes a once-off cash payment of R22 000 of every worker in the bargaining unit.
NEHAWU Chairperson in Parliament S’thembiso Tembe says the deal which was accepted and signed on Friday 14 January is welcomed.
“Number one, the salaries of employees will be increased by 1.5 percent. And number two, workers in the sector will a receive R22 000 once-off cash payment, which is equivalent to R1 833, 33 for a period of twelve months for a year. Now, while this is not the ideal agreement that we would have wanted as we were hoping to get more, we believe that what we achieved is far better than the 3 percent once-off that the employer was putting on the table, which led to the stalemate and deadlock”
The union says the offer which it accepted averts the strike and will not hamper the business of Parliament and provincial legislatures.
“In this regard, we have since mandated and urged our members to participate fully in the State-of-the-Nation-Address and in the State-of-the-Provinces -Address that will take place. We also urge our members to participate fully in the business of Parliament which would include oversight and the public hearings,” says Tembe.
He says its acceptance of the salary wage agreement does not change their stance on the Acting Secretary to Parliament, Baby Tyawa. The union says it still wants the permanent Secretary to Parliament to be appointed as soon as possible and the precautionary suspension of Tyawa.
“However, we need to mention that this agreement does not change our position in particular in the National Parliament, – with regard to the Acting Secretary. We still want her to be put on precautionary suspension pending the investigation regarding the cause of fire and what we believe is the lack of proper management by the management of Parliament. Secondly, we still demand that the presiding officers of Parliament appoint the Secretary to Parliament as soon as possible to avoid a situation where there will be leadership gaps in Parliament,” emphasised Tembe.
The salary wage agreement comes a few days before Parliamentary Committees are officially expected to resume their business from Monday following the December recess. Public hearings on the Gas Amendment Bill were also scheduled to take place from this week.
In the video below from December 19, 2021, NEHAWU gives Parliament an ultimatum to appoint a new Secretary or face strike action: