FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION
12 November 2020
NUPSAW DISTANCES ITSELF FROM NEHAWU’S PLANNED NATIONAL STRIKE ON BEHALF OF COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE WORKERS (CHWs)
The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW) representing more than thousands of Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) across all nine provinces is offended with the dealings that the sweetheart union are selling out to our members especially Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs). We have been the only union that has constantly taken up the fight for CHWs to be recognised as public servants. The removal of NUPSAW from the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council (PHSDSBC) was not an accident, today they are collaborating to roll back gains made in respect of CHWs.
NUPSAW’s struggle within the Council is proof that in 2019 NEHAWU and Denosa rejected our 13 225 Community Health Workers (CHWs). They were joined by Hospersa and PSA on the 12 December 2019 in rejecting the CHWs it is on record also. By the way initially the employer was also rejecting until we took the employer to Court and were ordered to submit a consolidated list of NUPSAW members irrespective of their employment status.
We are not going to support NEHAWU strike as we are aware that their intention is not to fight for the CHWs but rather a recruitment drive and to cause confusion and division within the sector. NEHAWU argued in the Labour Court between NUPSAW vs PHSDSBC on our removal from the Council, that CHWs are not employees of the department and therefore do not fall within the scope of the Bargaining Council PHSDSBC. We are the majority union in the sector and we are currently on the ground mobilizing our members to strike in order to end this austerity measures imposed on them. We are also in the process of launching an application with the Labour Court to declare the CHWs permanent employees of the Department of Health.
The perfect example is that NEHAWU leadership has organised their programme of action on the non-implementation of the last leg of the wage agreement resolution 1 of 2018 PSCBC in a unilateral and sectarian way, first and foremost to hide their paralysis, to defend the reputation of its leadership and to not too fatally undermine their Tripartite Alliance partner, the ANC – who is also the employer they are claiming to be fighting.
We will not allow our members to be fooled by the likes of Nehawu., today we are out of the PHSDSBC because they told the employer that they Nehawu, PSA, Hospersa and Denosa don’t recognize our membership of Community Health Workers (CHW) as public servants, that is why Gauteng CHWs did not go to that useless PHSDSBC to get an agreement to be absorbed into the public service as per our PHSDSBC Resolution 1 of 2018, says NUPSAW General Secretary, Success Mataitsane.
We continued to have robust engagement with the National Department and Provincial Departments of Health for permanent employment. We demanded to meet with the former Minster Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and we eventually meet with him in April 2018. In that meeting, the Minister agreed that CHWs cannot be classified as EPWP because of the nature of their job.
He agreed with us that the work that the CHWs are doing is of permanent nature but complaint about the autonomy of provinces. He agreed to standardize the remuneration of R3500 through a persal system as an interim solution and that CHWs will be absorbed on Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) salary level 2 the following year. This led to the signing of Resolution 1 of 2018, PHSDSBC in June 2018. This was another victory for all CHWs in the country and NUPSAW. Afterwards, we were removed from the Council for fighting for the marginalized by the sell-out union on the basis that we do not meet the Council threshold.
NUPSAW has been struggling to gain its admission back so that we could participate in the processes and represent the views of our members. Despite that we continued to mobilise CHWs and the former Gauteng MEC, Bandile Masuku took a decision to implement our agreement (Resolution 1 of 2018 of PHSDSBC) with the former Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
NUPSAW needs urgent steps to be taken to ensure that all CHWs employed through by the Department of Health. We demand that the Minister issue a directive to all health departments regarding the absorption of all CHWs on level 2 as an interim solution.
“NUPSAW is the only union that has managed to put our interest at heart as Community Healthcare Workers after other unions refused to recognise us as permanent employees of the Departments within the bargaining council, they also ensured that there is an end of the exploitation of CHWs”, says Crecia Maake, one of the CHWs in Gauteng Province.
As a crucial component of the health care system, and indeed to the COVID-19 response, all CHWs must be paid Covid-19 danger allowance and have access to the same support and protection as is being provided to other health care providers. While this demand for the protection, training and equipping of CHWs is being made within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it also highlights pre-existing issues with the conditions under which CHWs work. These include not having the security of employment as they are continuously hired on fixed-term contracts and receiving a meagre stipend (recently increased to R3 500 month through a bargaining council agreement, after years of NUPSAW fighting for living wages and better working conditions.
For more information:
NUPSAW Media Officer
012 342 1674
083 712 1614
NUPSAW National Organiser
012 342 1674
082 323 2958