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NEHAWU Update On The NHLS Strike

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NEHAWU Update On The NHLS Strike

26th August 2020


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The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is currently in the process of lodging an appeal after the National Health Laboratories Service [NHLS] interdicted our strike action. 

NEHAWU received a certificate to strike from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration [CCMA] after the employer choose to defend unfair labour practices by discriminating our members and workers who successfully appealed for their salary levels to be upgraded including failing to implement a proper Performance Management and Development System [PMDS]. 


The employer instead of engaging the national union to try and fix these issues elected to run to the court to apply for a court interdict against our strike action. The judge granted the NHLS an interdict on the 24th August 2020 while the employer was still applying at the Essential Service Commission [ESC] to declare NHLS workers as essential service. However, the judge did not give reasons for the judgement. 

We view this as nothing but an attempt to disregard our right to strike and an assault on collective bargaining. As NEHAWU, we shall not allow our Constitutional rights and hard won gains to be trampled on. The voice of workers shall never be silenced and the underhand tactics by NHLS has only managed to infuriate workers even more. In this regard, our members and workers will continue with lunchtime pickets while waiting for the court processes to be completed. Money spent on frivolous court cases could have been better spent on improving workers’ salaries and procuring adequate quality Personal Protective Equipment [PPEs] for our members and workers. 


As soon as we are victorious in overturning this silly interdict we will continue with our full-blown strike. As NEHAWU, we still believe that our demands are genuine and reasonable and should be acceded to by the employer. No amount of intimidation and harassment will deter our members and workers from fighting for what is rightfully theirs. We view this as a small bump on the road and as soon as we are over it, we will return stronger for a total shutdown of NHLS up until all our demands are met. 

The national union calls on all its members and workers to remain resolute and militant against the onslaught by the NHLS management. The tactics by the management are not new as they deployment the very same tactics in 2015, 2016 and 2017 to try and stifle workers against fighting for decent salaries and improved working conditions. 

This is a fight that the national union is not prepared to lose, more so, that we are currently in the process of negotiations for the 2020/2021 bargaining cycle. The employer has elected to insult our members and workers by offering them a 0% salary increase. So, if we are to allow the NHLS management to trample all over us and revoke our right to strike on the August 2018 outstanding issues they will subsequently also do it for the 2020/2021 negotiations. 

Lastly, we would like to thank our members and workers for their resilience and fighting spirit at the face of the offensive by the intransigent NHLS management. The national union will do everything in its power including deploying all resources at its disposal to guarantee a victory for its members and workers. 


Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat


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