NEHAWU Gauteng Statement On The CCMA Dispute Between NEHAWU And The Gauteng Provincial Legislature
Wednesday February 15, 2023
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in Gauteng Province welcomes the arbitration award issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration [CCMA] in favour of our members at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.
The award is in respect of the failure by the employer to pay 13th cheque to all employees. In failing to pay the 13th cheque, the employer reneged on an agreement between the union and the employer. The payment of 13th cheque is not only part of existing salary agreements in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, but also provided for in clause 5.7.2 of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s Remuneration and Benefit Policy of 2027.
After several attempts to solve the matter internally did not bear any fruits and failing to convince the employer to implement the agreement, the union declared a dispute in 2022 as the employer did not engage with the union in good faith. The intransigent conduct of the employer strengthens our view that there is a serious onslaught against collective bargaining and an agenda to undermine the workers’ hard won gains of our democracy and this strengthens our resolve to fight against neoliberal austerity measures by the state. The fact that Gauteng Provincial Legislature tried to withhold the 13th cheque which was due to our members in April 2022 is a sign of arrogance and an attack on established labour relations architecture that has always defined our relationship.
Furthermore, we view attempts by the employer to unilaterally take away the 13th cheques as an attempt to make workers carry the burden caused by financial mismanagement in that institution. This is laid bare by the report Finance Portfolio Committee Oversight Report on the 4th Quarter Financial Performance Report 2021/22, which, when the Gauteng Provincial Legislature was pleading poverty to justify their unwillingness to pay the 13th cheque, recommended that the “Gauteng Provincial Legislature should submit a report highlighting reasons for underspending by R18 million on compensation of employees.”
As NEHAWU, we view this as an attempt by the employer to take money from workers and divert to other activities know to them. It was negotiating in bad faith on the part of Gauteng Provincial Legislature to plead poverty while employing expensive law firms to represent them during dispute resolution processes and had management listened to us when we wanted to resolve the matter internally, we could have saved the institution a lot of time and money.
Lastly, we commend our members at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature for standing up against such an arrogant employer. The unity and determination with which our members approached this disputed sets an example for our members in all sectors. The pressure exerted on the employer throughout the dispute resolution process contributed immensely to the ongoing union work in defence of collective bargaining and the awards itself is a measure victory on the part of the union and all its members.
Issued by NEHAWU Gauteng Secretariat
Mzikayise Tshontshi (Gauteng Provincial Secretary) at 0636851938 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thulisile Msimang (Gauteng Provincial Deputy Secretary) at 0721748062 or email: email@example.com