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Nehawu Plans To Go Ahead With Protest Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

Nehawu Plans To Go Ahead With Protest Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

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National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said it would go ahead with its protest against government’s plans to pull out of the wage agreement despite the ban on gatherings of more than a 100 people because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The union said government had confirmed plans to implement 0% wage increases in April unilaterally reneging on an agreement that guaranteed workers increases of between 5.5% and 4.5% next month.

This is part of the state’s plan to slash the public sector wage by R160 billion in the next three years.

Government has been calling on South Africans to limit physical contact amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, Nehawu wants thousands of union members to come together in their numbers to protest against the state’s decision to pull out of the wage agreement.

The union’s secretary general Zola Saphetha said: “We are going, even if we have 20,000 in the gathering, we can put them in categories.”

Saphetha believes the lives of public workers are already at risk.

“Every point of entry, you will find that people who are working there are members of Nehawu.”

He said the union wanted to register its unhappiness with government.

APPROACHING COURTS OVER WAGE INCREASES

Public sector trade unions say they would approach the courts to seek an order forcing government to effect wage increases for this year.

Public servants who are at the frontlines of the fight against the spread and impact of COVID-19 could be forced to choose between the country and their personal interests as unions go head to head with the government.

While Nehawu has threatened to protest, the Public Servants Association said it would approach the courts if the government did not include the wage increases when it loaded salaries on its Personal and Salary system at the end of the month.

Government has told the unions it had no money for increases as it set its sights on saving the R160 billion.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

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