BRIEF | SOUTH AFRICA 

SASSA warns workers not to strike

NEHAWU has vowed to down tools on Wednesday

Photo of a SASSA branded car
SASSA has warned its workers not to join strike action by NEHAWU members this week. Photo: Barbara Maregele
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Amidst public concern over the payment of social grants to millions of South African Security Agency (SASSA) beneficiaries on 1 April, staff have been cautioned not to join National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) if it goes on strike on Wednesday.

In a press statement, SASSA said it had received a notice of a secondary strike dated 16 March 2017 from NEHAWU. “It is the submission of the Agency that it has not been given the appropriate seven days notice as the Act prescribes. We acknowledge the right of employees to engage in industrial action.”

SASSA says the strike “is illegal” and “unlawful”, and staff were “strongly advised” not to participate.

Last week on Monday, NEHAWU said “marathon negotiations” had “collapsed”.

“Our demands were first tabled to the employer in August 2015 and this year on the 10 February 2017 our members were out in a nation-wide protest action to resubmit the demands. For more than a month now since the submission of our memorandum, the employer has failed to table a counter offer,” NEHAWU said in a statement.

In addition to salary level demands, NEHAWU wants uniforms for cleaners and security guards, the introduction of a rural allowance for those working in rural areas, and for the Department to employ qualified social workers on a permanent basis.

On Friday, the Union was served with an interdict obtained by the Department of Social Development, preventing members from participating in further strike action.

But SASSA staff may yet down tools alongside 6,000 other members in the social development sector on Wednesday. NEHAWU national spokesman Khaya Xaba said the union would continue strike action until an agreement was reached with government despite the interdict.

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