More than 400 employees of the North West Parks Board are threatening to down tools unless the board pays them their outstanding salaries.
National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) says workers were not paid as expected last Friday, with no adequate explanation from management. The affected employees include rangers and administrators who are tasked with managing state parks across the province.
Workers have continued to work despite not being paid. NEHAWU has taken the matter up with management, threatening strike action if delays in paying workers’ salaries persist.
“This has impacted employees across the province that is about 480 employees across the province and that obviously creates problems for them, in terms of commitments, financial commitments they have made. And we really do hope that the CEO will honour her promise that the funds will be available, failing which has a certificate to strike with the institution,” says NEHAWU Deputy Regional Secretary, Kealeboga Dikobe.
The North West Parks Board says its ability to generate income and pay workers’ salaries has been severely affected by earlier COVID-19 related restrictions and its failure to collect money owed to it by concessionaires operating in their most lucrative parks.
“The concessionaires owe us R70-million. We’ve only been able to collect R33-million. We are not saying we have done very well, we could have done better but because of COVID, it is a problem. So the finance coming today from treasury will assist us to pay the salaries. But going forward we have to work, even harder for us to generate our own revenue from people that owe us to be able to pay our workers,” says North West Parks Board’s Dr Magome Masike.
It remains to be seen whether or not, workers will receive their much-needed salaries or enter another week with nothing to show for their toil.