The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] has been on strike at the National Lotteries Commission [NLC] over deadlocked wage negotiations and horrible working conditions.
At the beginning of the negotiations, NEHAWU made a salary demand of 12.5% across the board and provided reasons for such demands. The employer on the other hand made an offer of 6%. During subsequent engagements on the salary negotiations, NEHAWU reviewed its demand three times until we could no longer afford to go below 8,5%. The employer on the other hand tabled a final offer of 7% which was not acceptable to the demands made by NEHAWU.
The national union and employer engaged on more than five occasions and none of such engagements saw the impasse resolved. The employer’s final offer of 7% subjected the salary negotiations for the financial year to a deadlock and we indicated to the employer that the stalemate will be referred to CCMA for conciliation. Before the matter was even referred CCMA, the employer unilaterally implemented the 7% to management and none unionized employees. The CCMA issue NEHAWU with a certificate to strike.
Workers decided to embark on a strike action which started on Monday, 20 August 2018. The reason for the urgent strike is that the employer is coercing members to resigning, depleting the union membership at a very alarming rate. At the core of our demands is the hostile environment workers are subjected to, the fight for space and recognition, and the employer’s strategy is to liquidate NEHAWU.
The national union has also submitted a memorandum of demands to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister Rob Davies, to look into the following issues:
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] convened its national public service bargaining forum to process mandates from regional bargaining forums that were convened on the week of the 7th to 14th May 2018 on the current offer by the employer.
NEHAWU as a worker based red union will always listen to the directives of its members at all material times hence it had to table provincial views in the national bargaining forum for consolidation into one national position of the national union regarding the employer’s offer. At this national meeting, the union reaffirms its position that it will always be on the side of its members, as a result the leadership of the national union was mandated to engage the employer to improve its offer on the following three issues: 1) abolishing or enhancement of level 1 to 3, 2) delinking and 3) Resolution 3 of 2009. In this regard, the national union remains committed to its value of taking very serious the process of consulting members before taking decision that have a direct bearing on its members.
After an extensive and rigorous consultation process the union has taken a decision to further robustly engage the employer to consider our initial position. Indeed, our members are extremely unhappy with the offer and hold a strong view that to accept it as it is will be a great loss. These three following issues are sticking areas for our members:
• The abolition of salary level 1 -3. The employer vehemently refuses to abolish or to enhance the lowest salary levels which subjects our members to indecent salaries. Currently, the union is considering to opt for other avenues available at its disposal if the employer refuses to concede to our do or die demands in favour of workers.