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Govt will continue to engage with Nehawu amid wage increase demands – Presidency

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Nehawu members protesting outside the Union Buildings in Tshwane, demanding the implementation of a wage increase agreement and other issues relating to Covid-19.

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Nehawu leadership will continue engagement on the union’s concerns.
  • Nehawu is unhappy about the implementation of a wage agreement and the effects of Covid-19 on its members.
  • Ramaphosa and Nehawu met on Friday after Ramaphosa had to postpone an earlier meeting due to illness.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) agreed on Friday they will continue engagement on a range of issues concerning collective bargaining and workplace conditions in the public sector, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ramaphosa hosted a meeting with the national office-bearers of the public-sector trade union on Friday after Tuesday’s meeting was postponed due to Ramaphosa being struck down with a cold.

“The meeting followed the union’s submission of a memorandum to the President relating to, among others, improving occupational health and safety uniformly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, conditions of service more broadly and implementation of clause 3.3 of Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) Resolution 1 of 2018, which deals with salary adjustments for the 2020/21 financial year, and which is currently the subject of litigation,” reads a statement from the Presidency.

On Monday, Nehawu protested outside the Union Buildings because a memorandum they delivered in early September has not yet received a response.

READ | Nehawu to Ramaphosa: Stop showering frontline workers with empty words – they need more PPEs

Nehawu president Mzwandile Makwayiba said the union was fighting for the implementation of a wage agreement that was reached in 2018, as well as issues relating to health workers who contracted Covid-19, News24 reported at the time.

Ramaphosa chaired the meeting in which Nehawu was represented by Makwayiba, first deputy president Mike Shingange, second deputy president Nyameka Macanda, national treasurer Kgomotso Makhupola, and general secretary Zola Saphetha.

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu, and Health Deputy Minister Dr Joe Phaahla also participated in the meeting which the Presidency described as “a frank and cordial exchange of views and information”.

The meeting agreed that government and Nehawu will continue work on the issues raised in Nehawu’s memorandum, that are currently being discussed by task teams comprising government and Nehawu.

“Reports of these task teams will be presented to a meeting of senior leadership of government and public sector unions who will meet again soon on a mutually convenient date to develop solutions in the interest of workers, the public sector and the nation and economy at large,” reads the Presidency’s statement.

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