The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in the Eastern Cape Province has observed a sharp increase in a number of employers in the province who are victimising our shop stewards and members.

Recently, we have also observed an upsurge in the number of employers who intimidate workers based on their affiliation to our union. Just last week, our shop steward at the South African Revenue Services [SARS], Cde Thembisa Mtshingila, was unfairly suspended for highlighting the issue of non-working ablution facilities at the Port Elizabeth office. As NEHAWU, we believe her suspension is retaliation by the employer because she played a central role in representing a member whose salary was unfairly deducted by SARS resulting in the Sherriff of the court attaching computers belonging to the employer.

A couple of our members are on protracted suspensions thus denying them their rights to continue with their duties or fair process to absolve themselves. This includes our Regional Secretary in the Thabo Moshoeshoe Region, Cde Sweetness Stokwe, who has been suspended for more than a year by the Eastcape Midlands TVET College management and our Branch Secretary at the Nelson Mandela University [NMU], Cde Kayode Adesemowo, who has been on suspension for more than two years on spurious charges.

As NEHAWU in the province, we refused to fold our arms while our members are victimised and intimidated by employers. In this regard, we will be embarking on campaign to fight union bashing and victimisation against our members. The campaign will kick off today in the form of lunch time pickets at SARS offices in the Port Elizabeth area. The aim of the campaign is to send an unequivocal message that NEHAWU will not stand idle while members and workers are victimised by employers on a daily basis.

We will mobilise all our members and workers to fight for their right to join NEHAWU and invite our federation COSATU and other formations of the Mass Democratic Movement [MDM] to join us in fighting this onslaught that seeks to erode our organisation.

A detailed programme of the campaign will be communicated very soon and will include a couple of marches that will be directed to employers who are at the forefront of victimising our members including SARS, NMU and the Eastcape Midlands TVET College. For more information contact NEHAWU Eastern Cape Provincial Secretary, Cde Miki Jaceni, at 082 455 2745