Picketing to continue at premier’s office

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By Richard Nkosi

On Wednesday the picket intensified as they were visited by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) regional leadership, led by regional secretary, Sdumo Masilela and deputy regional chairman, Sello Shai.

MBOMBELA – Workers of the Office of the Premier and interns of Mpumalanga Provincial Government have been picketing during lunch hours since last Monday, March 4.

They have vowed to do so until their demands are met.

On Wednesday the picket intensified as they were visited by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) regional leadership, led by regional secretary, Sdumo Masilela and deputy regional chairman, Sello Shai.

According to Andrew Nkosi, Nehawu branch secretary, their picketing actions have resulted in numerous engagements between the Nehawu branch executive committee (BEC) members and the Office of the Premier management. No significant resolutions have been achieved.

“The BEC has engaged the management of the Office of the Premier on various occasions over issues stemming as far back as 2017 with no progress. The employer has displayed, during all these engagements, a high level of arrogance and reluctance to resolve pertinent issues, which affect our comrades. This has resulted in a decision to picket as mandated by the Constitution,” explained Nkosi.
He said the employer has since decided to circulate a “no work, no pay” memorandum because of the pressure being applied.

“The employer is still displaying levels of arrogance by not wanting to engage with the leadership. The latter went as far as requesting for a hearing with premier Refilwe Mtsweni, but to no avail. The BEC of the Office of the Premier has reached a point where more pressure is required, so that the employer can meet our demands,” added Nkosi.

Masilela said government was the employer, not an individual.

“In government there is no person who can call him- or herself an employer. The government is the employer. But here, there is someone who is calling himself an employer and is intimidating our members. He went as far as issuing a memorandum threatening our workers that they will apply the no work, no pay principle,” said Masilela.

He said one of the main problems that have triggered their picketing was the moratorium that was applied in 2015. He said most of their members were overburdened with work as there has been a shortage of staff since the moratorium was applied.

“Does the employer mean that since the moratorium was passed in 2015, there is no one who died, retired or resigned? What happened to all those posts? According to the Labour Relations Act, if a post becomes vacant the employer needs to fill it. The employer has failed to do so, resulting in overburdening our members,” added Masilela.