The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is currently on strike at the Vaal University of Technology [VUT]. The strike started yesterday [June 5, 2019] after a deadlock in wage negotiations.
Negotiations between NEHAWU and the university management started in November 2018 and for the past eight months they have failed to yield any positive results. The employer has consistently refused to accede to our demands of paying decent wages and improving working conditions of our members and workers.
The union approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration [CCMA] on this matter and a certificate to strike was issued on the 24th May 2019. Subsequently, the university was served with a 7 day strike notice. The CCMA instructed the university management to seek the intervention of the Minister of Higher Education and Training to try end the impasse and avert the impending strike. However, the management elected to remain intransigent and not explore means to avert the strike hence it started yesterday. The strike will continue indefinitely until all our demands are met.
Our demands are as follows:
· A 10% salary increase across the board
· Conversion of contract workers to permanent as per LRA s198B
· Insourcing of security services
· Immediate suspension of those implicated in corruption & forensic investigation
· Disbandment of corrupt council
· Cost savings by building university residences
· End the use of consultants and agencies
As NEHAWU, we strongly believe that the university management cannot pay our members decent wages because the money meant to pay workers is lost to corruption activities and other financial improprieties taking place at the university. NEHAWU has been at the forefront of calling for investigations into allegations of fraud, corruption and nepotistic hiring practices at VUT.
The management has been accused of gross corruption and in our eyes these are very serious allegations that must be investigated as a matter of urgency. In this regard, we welcome the appointment of an independent assessor to probe, among other things, financial procurement and tender irregularities at the institution by the former Minister of Higher Education and Training, Honourable Naledi Pandor.
The national union will all forward information it has to the assessor to help with the probe. NEHAWU has always prided itself as a union that fights all forms of corruption wherever it rears its ugly head. We will do everything in our power and use all the resources available at our disposal to ensure that corruption is uprooted at VUT and all other universities including TVET colleges.
Issued by NEHAWU