Nehawu threatens members will down tools over salaries and lack of adequate PPEs | #students | #parents

By Siviwe Feketha 22h ago

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Johannesburg –The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has threatened to order its members to down tools at health-care facilities as soon as next week if the government fails to implement their demands on salary increments and protective Covid-19 measures

This comes as the public sector union is planning for its national day of action on Wednesday to highlight the demands of workers.

Cosatu, the SACP, the Young Communist League of SA as well as student formations Sasco, Cosas, and the SA Union of Students have all thrown their weight behind the national action, which is expected to see thousands of workers marching to seats of government throughout the country.

These will include the Union Buildings, Parliament and offices of premiers throughout all provinces, according to Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha.

Saphetha said preparations for the marches were at an advanced stage, including safety measures.

“Memorandums clearly explaining our demands shall be submitted to the government with ultimatums of five days to respond positively and favourably to the demands. Failure to respond positively will, unfortunately, leave us with no option but to withdraw our labour power in all the sectors that Nehawu organises as from September 10, 2020,” Saphetha said.

Among the key demands made by the union is the full compliance by workplaces with the Occupational and Safety Standards Act (OHS), the centralisation of the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to curb tender corruption and implementation of salary agreements that the government has failed to effect

Saphetha said the fight was aimed at protecting collective bargaining and respect for agreements reached with unions.

“For us, this represents a pushback against the onslaught of employers who renege on implementing binding agreements. This campaign is a do-or-die (situation) for us and we are not prepared to lose the fight,” he said.

He said the union and the organisations backing it would also use the march to zoom into the Covid-19 tender corruption, which he said has contributed to the death of front-line workers.

“The outbreak of the coronavirus has given birth to a new breed of tenderpreneurs called Covidpreneurs who have used the opportunity to loot state resources meant to procure PPEs for front-line workers. Workers are losing their lives on a daily basis because of substandard PPEs that expose them to the virus,” Saphetha said.

SACP central committee member and spokesperson Alex Mashilo said the party was in full support of the demands made by the union.

Political Bureau

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