The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) has filed leave to appeal papers in the Constitutional Court on the 27th January 2021 against the judgement handed down on the 15th December 2020 by the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) on the public servants salary increase matter.
In its judgement, the Labour Appeal Court ruled that the enforcement of clause 3.3 (which specifically speaks to salary increases) of Resolution 1 of 2018 is unlawful and in contravention of Sub-Section 213 and 215 of the Constitution of the Republic South Africa and Public Service Regulations 78 and 79.
After reading the judgement the national union came to the conclusion that the LAC erred in arrived at such an outcome and decided that it must be appealed directly at the Constitutional Court on behalf our members and workers.
As NEHAWU, we strongly believe that the judgement offends section 23 of the Constitution and grossly undermines the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and Collective Bargaining in its entirety. These are rights that workers fought hard for before the dawn of the 1994 dispensation including the birth of the Labour Relations Act of 1995. The bargaining rights currently enjoyed by workers did not come on a silver platter, hence, we find it unacceptable that government would treat them with sheer disregard.
In court the National Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) had conflicting arguments. National Treasury argued that the entire agreement is unlawful while the DPSA held the view that the agreement is lawful but implementation was hindered by lack of affordability. Furthermore, the court also made a further legal flaw in that cabinet inclusive of the Minister of Finance had already approved the agreement. We find it strange that the court found that the Minister of Finance needed to validate the agreement even after cabinet had approved it.
We are currently waiting for the matter to be sat down at the Constitutional Court and hope that the court will rule in our favour. Government cannot be allowed to renege on binding agreements willy-nilly. NEHAWU will not rest until government implements PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2018 especially clause 3.3 which deals with the salary increase of public servants.
At our December 2020 Central Executive Committee (CEC) we took a decision to intensify the fight to defend collective bargain which is currently under threat especially from our government. If government is allowed to renege on implementing the salary increase it will set a bad precedence which will allow other employers to disregard binding agreements.
This is a do or die battle for us and we are prepared to fight until the bitter end on behalf of our members and workers who have been reduced to a life of poverty by our uncaring government.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 082 455 2500 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org