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  |  Affiliates Press Statements

NEHAWU prepares for a strike at the Agricultural Research Council

8 July 2017

The National Education Health & Allied Workers' Union [NEHAWU] is currently preparing for a strike at the Agricultural Research Council [ARC] after wage negotiations deadlocked on the 19th April 2017. The strike is set to commence on Wednesday the 12th July 2017 [a 48 hours' notice will be served on the employer on Monday the 10th July 2017].

In line with the provisions of the Recognition Agreement, an internal dispute meeting was convened on the 24th April 2017. Parties failed to break the wage deadlock, as such NEHAWU referred two disputes to the CCMA. The two disputes referred to CCMA were the following:

  • Dispute on matters of mutual interest [wage dispute]
  • Dispute on interpretation and application of agreement [Payment of 10th percentile minimum salary adjustment by the employer as per CCMA settlement signed in 2015]

During the course of negotiations, Organised Labour revised its offer from 10% down to 7.3% whilst management remained stagnant on its original and final offer of a mere 5%. As part of remedies proposed by the union in its attempt to break the deadlock was for the employer to consider a sliding scale increase other that the across the board increase due to the fact that the across the board arrangement benefits senior management far more than employees at the bottom of the salary scales. This equitable and progressive proposal was flatly rejected by the employer

This proposed remedy was also meant to address the current salary gap between senior management and employees at the lower levels. It is important to note that currently senior management at the Agriculture Research Council are paid at above the 75th to 90th percentile whilst low level staff are at paid below the 10th percentile of the market. Currently, the highest paid Senior Manager receives a salary of about R2 221 577 compared to R53 089 92 annual salary paid to a low salary employee, based on a salary benchmark conducted and commissioned by the same employer.

The Agriculture Research Council Management has up to this point failed to positively respond to a demand of an investigation on the following issues:

  • Alleged above 75th percentile salary adjustment for management
  • Alleged irregular cancellation of contracts with clients
  • Organisation cost containment program and implementation
  • Alleged non-recouped payment of contracts by clients for services provided by the ARC
  • Implementation of directives by Auditor General
  • Management of fruitless and wasteful expenditure
  • Alleged irregular appointments of staff
  • Mobilisation for the impending strike are at an advance stage and we are happy to report that we are ready for the commencement of the strike. NEHAWU members in the sector will come out in numbers as part of the total shutdown in the quest to compel the employer to adhere to our demands and we will not tire until those demands come to fruition.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500 or email: khaya@nehawu.org.za Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za