he National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) showed no signs of letting up as it kicked off a fifth day of striking with rousing song inside the mahogany-lined old National Assembly building on Friday.
”The struggle continues,” Disang Mocumi, Nehawu’s deputy chairperson at Parliament, told employees who were holding up holding A4 papers that read ”Injure one Injure All”.
Mocumi said their managers had tried to intimidate them, had deducted money from their pay, and had set the police on them.
”It didn’t work,” he said, as a handful of policeman were seen around the precinct while business continued.
The employees perform a wide range of functions from cleaning and catering to seeing to the smooth running of the various committee meetings, as well as access control at the visitors’ centre.
They have been on strike since last week Friday. Parliament believes they are acting illegally because Parliament is considered an essential service – a sector not permitted to strike.
A formal dispute was also not lodged ahead of the strike, which Nehawu has acknowledged.
Mocumi accused Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana of distorting facts by saying they were making new pay demands.
This was untrue and making them look unreasonable, he said after Mgidlana told media on Thursday that Parliament did not have the R50m it would cost to pay bonuses to the scale employees wanted.
Their issues related to interpretations of the agreement for the 2014/15 financial period, specifically how performance bonuses are calculated.
”The 2014/15 was signed in March, and our dispute over performance bonuses emanates from that,” he said.
”They are portraying us as bringing a new demand and so we will clarify the lies in the media with a media briefing at 10:30,” he said.
He noted complaints that not everybody had had pay docked and viewed this is a dividing tactic.
Nehawu, which will be holding its Western Cape conference this weekend, has also indicated it will not stop its strike unless the deductions were reversed. News24