NEHAWU workers based in the offices of the Social Development Department have embarked on a national strike, demanding the implementation of agreements on issues at the National Bargaining Council level be implemented, writes Zolile Menzelwa.
Member of the Nehawu Chris Hani striking committee, Mbulelo Keva, speaking to The Rep this morning, said the workers’ demands included amendment of the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) policy. The policy was meant to attract, retain and benchmark the salaries of social workers on national level.
Keva said it was agreed at national level that OSD policy be implemented in 2007 but the Eastern Cape had implemented it incorrectly. The provincial department had then promised to effect payments according to the policy last September, then in October and finally in January but no payment had been made. “Some people are owed performance bonuses that have not been paid for years. There are other people who do not benefit from the OSD policy but benefit from the second and third notch, they have not been getting their money as well.”
Keva said other employees were owed money after they had registered at institutions of higher learning. He said people applying for departmental bursaries paid their own registration as the department paid it late.
“When their bursary applications have been approved, the department is suppoed to repay these people their money but it does not,” he said.
Keva said the workers also wanted the entry level to benefit from OSD be moved from seven years of experience to five.
“We are not rendering any services. We have a certificate to strike so this is a legal strike. We turn the clients away. We appeal to all members to go on the strike so that it can have impact. We will not go back to work until the MEC (Nancy Sihlwayi) tells us when we are getting our money.”