The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is shocked and appalled by the mooted plan by government to lay off more than 30 000 public servants in the next three years as part of cost-cutting measures. As NEHAWU, we will vehemently reject any job losses in the public service because of austerity measures meant to remedy the debt burden of the public service.
During the presentation of the State of the Nation address in February 2018 the national union noted tendencies of jobs cuts and attempts to reduce the wage bill and hence the union warned the President that we won’t fold our hands watch the state reversing the hard won gains of job security.
The national union is vehemently opposed to any job losses that comes as a result of state resources being looted by greedy politicians and managers at the helm of the state. Most state resources are looted by corrupt and greedy elitists who have no care for the repercussions of their plundering of the state and the ramification for the working class, as the only class that bears the brunt of austerity measures and disruptions to service delivery. To this indeed we say, “Hands off public sector workers wages and jobs!”
Laying off staff in the public service which is already understaffed will put a huge dent in service delivery especially in health and education. For instance, the main reason public healthcare sector is in shambles is precisely the lack of adequate staff to attend to patients. The national union has consistently called on government to fill all vacant funded posts to ensure that everyone in the public service is able to perform their tasks with efficiency, diligence and integrity. Currently service delivery is at an all-time low due to shortage of staff in the public service and public servants are subjected to perform jobs of three people at the same time which the compensation is for one person.
As NEHAWU, we are prepared to fight fire with fire should government proceed with the planned job cuts. In this regard, we warn government not to take any impulsive decision which might badly affect workers and service delivery. Working with other Cosatu public sector unions we will seek a meeting with government to sharply raise these issues.
Once again we want to advise the African National Congress [ANC] as the ruling party to learn from service delivery protests, student uprising, North West paralysis experiences including the lessons of the 2016 local government elections which sent a loud and clear message if it is still interested to retain its power in 2019. Workers will not continue to vote for a party that does not go out of its way to protect jobs and prioritise service delivery hence it should not take our support for granted.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat