PARLIAMENT’s labour worries are far from over, as the National Education Heath and Allied Workers Union at the legislature said it would pursue pay scale grievances at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) despite ending their strike last week.
The union expressed concern over an apparent lack of promotions in Parliament at senior management level and top management level. In its 2015-2016 annual report, Parliament reported two promotions to the level of senior management and none for top management.
Nehawu on Thursday called an end to its strike in Parliament following discussions with management of Parliament facilitated by the CCMA. Suspended staff were restored and those facing disciplinary processes were given written warnings.
The end of the strike sees the union making various compromises as Parliamentary staff members belonging to the union return to duty at the legislature. The matter of salary deductions, as part of Parliament’s "no work, no pay" policy, remains under discussion.
Nehawu’s Parliamentary chair Sthembiso Tembe told Business Day that the low figures in promotion to senior and top management positions worried the union.
"We want our members at lower levels to be [in] higher positions. There seems to be a ceiling. Most of those taken in there seem to be promoted from outside when people from inside understand how the system works and the challenges it faces," Tembe said.
Tembe said the union would still pursue a number of matters at Parliament with the CCMA, including matters pertaining to security and protection staff who the union says are not being paid consistently with their experience at the legislature.
"We are pursuing that issue and it is with the CCMA at the moment. The issue was created by the same management. Security and protection officers is a serious issue. They decided to employ security personnel at the highest level," he said.
He said the gap among these staff members was so huge that protection services working in Parliament for years were earning R180,000 annually while newer personnel doing a similar job earned R300,000 annually.
Last week Secretary of Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana said while not all the issues which led to the strike were resolved, a moratorium would be instituted on pay deductions to allow for discussions on how to continue with them and how to reverse those already imposed.
"We are not deducting now and we are still continuing the conversation. The nature of the relationship between the union and Parliament means there will always be issues on the table but that does not mean that things should be allowed to collapse," said Mgidlana.
Nehawu deputy secretary Zola Saphetha and Mgidlana will monitor the implementation of the agreements between the union and Parliament. The Western Cape provincial branch of Nehawu and management of Parliament, excluding Mgidlana, will provide progress reports to the presiding officers.