The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is currently engaged in a process of preparing for a National Day of Action at the Agricultural Research Council [ARC] after issues raised with the board and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries remain unresolved.
The national union and the board have been at loggerheads over the underfunding and inappropriate funding of the ARC. Last year in July our members intended to strike over issues of wasteful and fruitless expenditure. A commitment was made to address these issues yet the status quo remains. We warned management that issues related to financial mismanagement at ARC have a potential to cripple the council and lead to non-payment of salaries and ultimately lead to retrenchments. Our calls fell on deaf ears and now we are facing the very same problems we warned the management about.
As NEHAWU, we believe that the chairperson and Chief Executive Officer must resign because the ARC has deteriorated under their leadership. They are intending to retrench workers because they don’t have enough funds to pay salaries. The national union will fight until the bitter end to protect the jobs of our members. We will not allow our members to lose their jobs because the council is underfunded.
The national union will request an audience with the minister to raise the following issues:
- The removal of the ARC Board Chairperson
- Removal the CEO
- Forensic investigation of the ARC
- Management wasteful expenditure
- Management/ Executive pay scales (75th percentile) while ordinary employees are even below the 10th percentile
- Auditing of services offered to the clients by ARC
- Property audit
- Halting of the intended retrenchments
The national union will schedule an urgent meeting with the Minister to try resolve these issues as soon as possible. Should that meeting with the Minister fail to resolve these issues the national union will steam ahead with its plan to prepare for the National Day of Action which will be in the form of a march directed to the Council and the Minister. Majority of these issues were raised last year and no substantive progress has been made. NEHAWU will not stand idle while breadwinners lose their jobs because the executive management at the ARC cannot practice financial prudency.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org