Picture: GCIS
Picture: GCIS

PARLIAMENTARY staff members aligned to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) accused Parliament’s management of distorting facts and acting in bad faith in discussions with the union and disciplinary processes of union leaders.

The union briefed the media on Friday at Cape Town’s central Methodist Church on the second day of a fresh strike over Parliament’s decision to deduct money from staff members’ salaries for a strike staff embarked upon late last year.

The union contends that the amount to be deducted from salaries for the strike days was still subject to discussion between the union and Parliament.

However, Parliament has proceeded with the deductions and included days when Parliament was on lockdown.

In a statement released on Thursday, Parliament claimed it was not notified of the latest strike and said the implementation of the "no work, no pay" deduction was agreed to in December last year.

However, Nehawu parliamentary secretary Themba Gabula disputes these assertions.

"It is not true that Parliament was not aware of our strike. We wrote to Parliament on September 5. We wrote a notice for strike to presiding officers and management. They did not respond to our 48-hour demands so we opted for a strike," said Gabula.

Parliament has also suspended and charged Nehawu office bearers in Parliament, including parliamentary chairman Sthembiso Tembe, over clashes the union had with secretary of Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana during staff meetings.

Gabula said the chairman of Tembe’s disciplinary process recused himself after Nehawu proved he was mandated by Mgidlana to reach a predetermined outcome empowering Mgidlana to dismiss him.

Tembe said the union could not negotiate easily with Parliament on the remaining issues while salary deductions were still being effected.

"The disciplinary committee processes are not in line with the Labour Relations Act. You must use a collective agreement in the discipline and grievance procedure, and not your own processes. If we are to continue negotiating, the charges which are illegal must will be withdrawn," said Tembe.

Tembe said Mgidlana was instructed on more than one occasion — including by the presiding officers of Parliament — not to institute salary deductions until both sides came to an agreement on the circumstances of such deductions.