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  |  Affiliates Press Statements

NEHAWU calls on the Department of Social Development to address workers demands instead of lousy tactics of intimidation

17 March 2017

The National Health Education & Allied Workers Union [NEHAWU] is highly disturbed and disappointed with the level of arrogance displayed by the Department of Social Development in handling issues related to its employees.

Instead of responding to the list of demands tabled on the 10th February 2017 for its attention, the department has resorted into bully tactics and intimidation through court interdicts as a form of weakening our peaceful strike. This attitude and strategy will not work on us as we are not threatened by these tactics rather they help with the intensification of picket lines instead and members are angered by these tactics. The energy, stamina, time and resources wasted unnecessarily by the department on in and out of courts should have been used better to finding lasting solutions to issues raised.

The union is fully aware that the department has obtained the temporary court interdicts (Rule Nisi) on false evidence in Courts. In this regard, the union through its legal department is opposing and challenging these court orders. It is regrettable and disappointing to see a government department busy running to the courts instead of resolving issues that gave rise to the strike through engaging the leadership of the union prior jumping to courts. As initially mentioned, the union is committed and also available twenty four (24) hours for engagement towards finding lasting solutions to these issues as tabled.

As if it was not enough to intimidate members through court interdicts, the department has also been misleading workers and the public by claiming that the strike is illegal. At this point, we want to set the record straight that the strike is protected and legal hence we shall continue indefinitely until our demands are met and favourable to members in particular and workers in general. No amount of intimidation or threat will deter our members to fight for their genuine demands.

All these lousy and desperate tactics implored by the department, has indeed inspired members to continue strengthening the picket lines. The threat through court interdicts has also drawn interest from members of the union in other sectors where we organise to join the strike in solidarity with their fellow comrades and workers.

As a result of this interest, the union has formally notified SASSA management on the intention to take its members for the secondary strike commencing on the 22nd March 2017 as part of joining the social development strike.

The union calls upon all its members to intensify the peaceful strike while adhering to picketing rules. We are further calling on the department of Social Development to table its offer on or before 20th March 2017 failing which the union will render the system of both Social Development and SASSA unworkable. At this point, we want to warn government to speedily attend to our demands before broadening the secondary strike to other sectors where we organise for reinforcement.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Bereng Soke (General Secretary) at 082 455 2713; Zola Saphetha (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 011 833 2902 - 082 455 2500 or email: khaya@nehawu.org.za Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za