NEHAWU Currently Preparing For A Strike at NHLS

NEHAWU Currently Preparing For A Strike at NHLS

Monday August 17, 2020

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is currently preparing for a strike at the National Health Laboratories Service [NHLS]. The strike action will be used as a launching pad for the broader national programme of action that the national union is currently implementing to defend and protect its members and workers in general against COVID-19.

The union is going on strike as a last resort having exhausted all available avenues at its disposal to force the management of NHLS to amicably resolve a dispute from last year August. As NEHAWU, we find it unacceptable that the NHLS management has elected to defend unfair labour practices by discriminating our members and workers who successfully appealed for their salary levels to be upgraded, despite an impartial expert committee recommending that these workers must be progressed.

Moreover, the management has failed to implement a proper Performance Management and Development System [PMDS] and as things stands, our members and workers are still waiting for their long overdue payments. It is as a result of this intransigence by the management that the national union was able to get a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration [CCMA] non-resolution certificate that paves a way for a strike action.

Furthermore, we are highly disheartened by the fact that the management has also elected to insult workers by giving them a 0% salary increase for the 2020/21 annual salary negotiations.

The NHLS management instead of uplifting the spirit of workers in this critical sector responsible for COVID-19 testing for most South Africans [the poor in particular], has decided to arrogantly show workers the middle finger instead of giving what is due to workers which is decent wages.

This is nothing short of recklessness and has plummeted the morale of our members who are sacrificing their lives to ensure that our people are able to receive their tests results on time for proper and timeous clinical management of COVID-19 and other infections/diseases such as Tuberculosis and HIV. We are also particularly alarmed that a large number of our members and workers at NHLS have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with over 700 workers already infected.

This is a clear indication that the lives and employment conditions of our members at NHLS are not taken seriously, and we are left with no other choice but to take a stance in defence of our members and workers. The union has already started with strike balloting processes and will be taking the war to the intransigent NHLS management and the Department of Health should these issues in dispute not be resolved.

A meeting was convened this afternoon with the management of the NHLS and the union made it unequivocally clear that it is going ahead with the strike action as its members and workers are not happy with the management's decision to defend unfair labour practises including unsafe working conditions especially during the pandemic.

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

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