The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] has concluded its consultation with members and workers since the South African Revenue Services [SARS] presented a draft settlement agreement on Sunday night.
NEHAWU values and prioritises views of workers hence it takes democratic processes very serious and imperative. Since the employer presented a draft settlement agreement as from the 31st March 2019, the union as part of its long held tradition engaged in a consultation process to report back to its members at the picket lines in order to solicit their mandate on whether to accept or reject the offer. It is and has been our view that consultation with workers during the strike action is critical and very important process which must be undertaken thoroughly so as to ensure that each and every member is listened to and heard.
Throughout our 31 years of history, we have never taken decisions on behalf of our members instead we have at all material times been guided by their views. After extensive consultations, the majority of our provinces have given us a mandate to sign the settlement agreement hence the leadership shall proceed to sign the agreement to solicit unity of workers against dividing workers as it is the case now.
NEHAWU reiterates its position that it is not happy with the multi-term agreement hence we still hold a strong view that a single term agreement would have been more suitable to our members under the current economic conditions. In this regard, we shall continue to monitor its implementation and where necessary the union shall consider all possibilities to reopen the negotiations. We will continue to fight for the resolution of the outstanding issues which inter-alia includes:
· Finalisation of Pay Progression policy
· affordable housing scheme for SARS employees
· Affordable medical scheme
· Grade Anomalies
· Implementation of employment equity plan and finalisation of all outstanding disputes.
It must be noted that during negotiations we have compromised a lot from reducing our initial demand of 15% to 11, 4% while the employer barely made any concessions.
It is regrettable that the Public Service Association [PSA] signed the draft settlement agreement prematurely while negotiations were still ongoing. We find it unflattering that the same union that was ready to fight until the bitter end for SARS workers folded precipitately while we still believed that the employer still had an opportunity to improve the offer presented on Sunday. Moreover, we want to dispel the myth that there is a majority union at SARS as it is a conscious distortion of cheap and desperate attempt as the narrative by the media that if PSA signs then the agreement enjoys majority support.
We also vehemently reject the communication by the employer circulated yesterday suggesting that negotiations happened between the employer and PSA hence the agreement was signed. We view this as bias, promoting and recruiting for the union of their choice and we don’t take kindly to such actions.
As NEHAWU, we want to applaud our members and workers for their high levels of both resilience and discipline during the strike. This strike should serve as a testament to other workers that when they are united nothing is impossible. NEHAWU shall continue to aggressively fight for better working conditions, decent wages and for workers to be treated with dignity.
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