NEHAWU Steams Ahead With Implementation Of National Programme Of Action To Protect And Defend Workers

NEHAWU Press Conference 20 August 2020

Posted by Nehawu AD on Thursday, 20 August 2020

NEHAWU Steams Ahead With Implementation Of National Programme Of Action To Protect And Defend Workers

Tuesday August 11, 2020

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is steaming ahead with the implementation of its national programme of action to protect and defend workers from getting infected with COVID-19 through mobilising society by meeting its strategic partners, progressive organisations and other organisations who cares about the lives of workers.

Starting this morning, the National Office Bearers [NOBs] are deployed in provinces to do workplace visits and assessments to establish state of readiness and compliance particularly as it relates to the safety of workers. During the visits the NOBs will meet Branch Executive Committees [BECs] in order to ascertain the conditions workers and members are subjected to amidst COVID-19 and how such impacts their right to life and bargaining. In addition, the NOBs will discuss amongst others the following but not limited to:

  • Compliance to the Occupational Health and Safety [OHS] Act
  • Available stocks of Personal Protective Equipment [PPEs]
  • The establishment and functional workplace health and safety committees
  • The impact of the shortage of staff in workplaces
  • Training of workers and frontline workers in dealing with COVID-19

The national union is continuing meeting workers in all sectors where it organises through Branch Executive Committees especially in public healthcare, private healthcare, South African Social Security Agency [SASSA], Lancet and Ampath, National Health Laboratory Service [NHLS], Department of Employment and Labour inspectors, Community Healthcare workers, Special Investigative Unit [SIU], the higher education sector, social development including national departments and private social development to assess the working conditions of our members and workers in general. Provinces that were not visited during the fact-finding mission earlier on will be visited until the days of actions by the NOBs.

The NOBs will also use these branch visits to intensify mobilisation towards the last phase of the national programme of action which include the following activities:

  • 21st August 2020: “Tsaya le tsatsi la Leave” all our members in all the provinces will on this day flock to the offices of the employer and all apply for a day leave.
  • 24th August – 27th August 2020: Lunch Hour Pickets across all sectors.
  • 28th August 2020: Siyahlala Day of Action, all workers across all sectors shall lockdown themselves at home and not go to work on this day.
  • 31st August 2020: Work to rule campaign by all members across all sectors.
  • 1st – 2nd September 2020: Hoot in support of Frontline Workers motorcade in all provinces and regions in recognition and appreciation of the good work and sacrifice demonstrated in saving lives of South Africans at the expense of their own lives.
  • 3rd September 2020: National Day of Action in a form of demonstrations across provinces where memorandums shall be handed over targeting the National Parliament, Presidency Office and Premier’s Offices. The National Office Bearers will be deployed in these office and Provincial Office Bearers to address these demonstrations and submit memorandums.
  • 10th September 2020: Full Blown Action – Complete withdrawal of labour in all sectors if there is no response favourable to our interests until all our demands are met.

Yesterday, the NOBs met with the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, to discuss issues related to our 2017 settlement agreement, the safety of workers during COVID-19 and SASSA bargaining and COVID-related matters. The meeting could not complete its business as there were gaps between our presentation of issues and what was prepared by the department as a response to our issues. As a result, the meeting agreed that the next urgent meeting should be convened in ten days to come in order to give the department enough time to prepare for qualitative and accurate responses to our issues as presented in the meeting towards speedily and amicably resolutions for immediate implementation. As NEHAWU, we are looking forward to reconvening the meeting to resolve all outstanding issues favourable to our members and workers.

The rising numbers of workers getting infected with the coronavirus and losing their lives on a daily basis prompts the national union to steam ahead with the national programme to defend and protect its members and workers. The national union refuses to sit idle while members are infected on a daily basis. Our programme of action is designed and aimed at forcing government to protect our first line of defence and workers in general to ensure that those tasked to serve as the bedrock of our national response against the COVID-19 are not recklessly exposed to the virus.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 082 455 2500