NEHAWU statement on the follow up meeting with the Minister of Higher Education

The National Office Bearers [NOBs] of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] met with the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, yesterday afternoon as a follow-up meeting after the meeting that was convened on the 2nd October 2020

The follow-up meeting was also attended by the Administrator of the National Students Financial Aid Scheme [NSFAS], Dr Randall Carolissen. NEHAWU vented its anger at the state of the institution and its impact on its members and students. The meeting directed an urgent meeting between the Administrator and the General Secretary of NEHAWU which must quickly attend to all issues to ensure stability in the institution. In this regard, a meeting between the Administrator and the General Secretary has been set and they will report back to the Minister and the President of NEHAWU on the progress of their engagements in the next two weeks.

In the meeting of the 2nd October 2020 the department tabled a progress report on the implementation of the settlement agreement post our 2019 TVET/CET NEHAWU strike. NEHAWU was unhappy about the slow and delayed implementation by the Department of Higher Education and Training including the lack of progress in most areas of the agreement.

In dealing with the issue, the meeting agreed that a task team must be established comprising of officials from both the department and NEHAWU. The task was established and indeed met on the 6th October 2020 to look at the progress on the implementation of the agreement and to deal with hindrances.

The task team reported the following as outcomes from their engagements:

On the implementation of Section 198B of the LRA

13503 contracts workers would now be translated into permanent as from the 1st November 2020 and implementation effective date will be from 1st July 2020. The breakdown is as follows:

·      12863 CET Lecturers

·      395 TVET lecturers

·      75 TVET Support staff

·      142 TVET Foreign nationals subject to confirmation of citizenship

·      28 Head Office staff qualify to be permanent

Finalisation of Post Provision Norms (PPN) processes and Public Colleges Administrative Measures (PCAM).

The revised timelines for implementation are now as follows:

1.   TVET Colleges

·      Phase 1 (2020/21 financial year) will see the migration of some college paid staff linked from Ministerial Programmes to PERSAL as per the model allocations- Phase 1 implementation process for 9 colleges with savings expected to begin by 1 November 2020 and completed by 31 March 2021

·      Phase 2 (2021/22) will focus on further migration of staff from college to Persal payrolls as well as the recruitment into critical posts aligned to the model allocations- Phase 2 which relates to the remaining 41 colleges to start from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2022

Circular on moratorium and deferment of recruitment of posts related to PPN Model as well as termination of contract of staff linked to ministerial programmes was issued on the 9th October 2020 to deal with the unintended consequences currently happening in the sector.

On terminations

The department will share with labour an audited list of staff members who qualified to be transferred and permanency but colleges terminated their contracts. Parties to engage on the matter of those who were terminated.

2.   CET Colleges

·      Implementation of Permanency – staff will retain existing part time hours of work but have their status changed to permanent on the PERSAL system in line with the LRA would be effective from 1 November 2020;

·      Standardisation of conditions of service from 1 February 2021;

·      Implementation of benefits on existing salary levels for academic staff on standardised pay scales-1 April 2021

·      Phased approach to PPN model implementation with support staff implementation from 1 April 2021, and academic staff from 1 April 2022.

Implementation of performance bonuses, grade progression payment

The matter is currently addressed through Human Resource and Development circular number 20 of 2020. The national union is pleased with the progress so far in implementing parity in public colleges.

Implementation of 37% in lieu of benefits

Parties agreed to determine the legal standing of the people appointed after 1 January 2008 to 2013 in respect to the Resolution on 37% benefits through chamber processes. NEHAWU to resend the completed templates used to collect data for at least 3 colleges so that data can be analysed to assess qualification for 37% cash in lieu implementation. Once this is done to determine a way forward on this matter as it involves the Councils

Insourcing of all outsourced services

Insourcing will be implemented through processes of Post Provisioning Norms from 1st April 2021.

On the Centralised bargaining in SETAs

The meeting agreed in principle that centralised bargaining in the Sector Education and Training Authorities [SETA] was necessary and that NEHAWU would suggest a model which it believes would function well to the department for consideration and engagements would ensue thereafter.

On the 100% return back of workers and students to institutions of higher learning

NEHAWU noted that the department had already made the announcement on the 30th September 2020 of the 100% return to campuses for all workers and students. However, as a union that has been on the ground and has visited workplaces we hold a strong view that we should be able to express our view on this matter.

In this regard, the national union will present its misgivings about the 100% return and suggest a concrete way forward to decisively deal with the matter. The meeting agreed that NEHAWU will make its submission to both the Minister and also to the Deputy Minister of DHET who is responsible for the operations of the Ministerial Task Team for COVID-19 in the higher education sector.

Once more, the meeting was fruitful and characterised by robust debates. NEHAWU will continue to monitor the implementation of the outcomes of both meetings with the Minister including the outstanding issues from the settlement agreement. As a union organising in the education sector we take very serious issues of transformation of the sector and the complete wellbeing of our members, workers and students.

Furthermore, NEHAWU will always wage a relentless war against anyone who stands in the way of deserving students from accessing higher education including ensuring that students are learning in a good environment that promotes good results. In this regard, we will continue to strengthen the student-worker alliance as part of achieving gains for workers and students.

Today, the national union will convene its university sector meeting to give feedback about the outcomes of these meeting to members, appoint the national coordinator and decide on the process to transform the sector including finalizing our submission on the 100% return to work process and reality.

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: