The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has put its strike on hold as it is scheduled to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday over its list of demands.
The union on Monday took its fight for improved working conditions for front-line workers, combating Covid-19 corruption and salary increases to the Union Buildings as it accused the government of not listening to its grievances.
Nehawu staged a national strike earlier this month demanding that the government accede to its demands by September 10 or face the possible downing of tools by public servants, including health workers.
The union was, however, left furious when its demands were ignored by the government, leading to the second strike action on Monday demanding answers directly from Ramaphosa.
On top of the 8% salary increments for its members, it wants reassurance from the government that workers will not be punished through disciplinary hearings or face dismissals if they refuse to work under conditions where the government does not provide personal protective equipment.
While Nehawu’s leadership could not secure Ramaphosa’s ear, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu met members and the national leadership.
Mthembu confirmed that Ramaphosa had agreed to meet them on Wednesday. “They will then raise these issues that need the attention of the head of state. I am too small to deal with the issues that have been raised by the trade union,” he said.
Nehawu national spokesperson Khaya Xaba said the union had accepted the explanation that Ramaphosa was sick and unable to respond to their demands on Monday.