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Legislature employees warned about salaries

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“It is unlikely that all the safety and health issues pertaining to the building will be resolved overnight.”

Staff members at the Provincial Legislature.

DESPITE raising concerns over the hazardous condition of the building, employees of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, have been warned that they will not receive their salaries if they are absent from their posts.

This is according to a lawyer’s letter that was sent to the Secretary of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, Patrick Moopelwa, yesterday.

Workers are refusing to enter the building due to several health and safety concerns that were also highlighted in an independent occupational health and safety preliminary report that was recently released by BSafe Africa.

The letter, from Finck Attorneys in Pretoria, on behalf of Nehawu, advised that should the principle of “no work no pay” be instituted, they would consider taking legal action against the legislature on an urgent basis.

The attorneys pointed out that while alarm bells were ringing over the safety and health conditions of the administration and members’ wing, security and records building as well as the basement, no attempts had been made to evacuate the building.

“It is unlikely that all the safety and health issues pertaining to the building will be resolved overnight.”

The letter pointed out that their client’s members had not embarked on any strike action.

“As the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature is not complying with its duty to provide a safe and healthy working environment, our client’s members are not obliged to work and are still entitled to be paid.”

It was indicated that employees were willing to work, provided that they were provided with a “reasonably safe and healthy working environment/premises” that complied with the occupational health and safety regulations.

“In this regard, we await your further advice on an alternative premises and what steps you have put in place to ensure such safe and healthy working environment for our clients.”

The attorneys stated that Nehawu was not prepared to compromise the health and safety of its members and legislature employees.

“A directive from the Department of Labour clearly indicates that the employer failed to comply with regulatory prescripts.”

They indicated that it was imperative that the structural integrity of the building be evaluated by a structural engineer.

“It is obviously unsafe and it would be grossly negligent to endanger your employees any further.”

The attorneys urged the legislature to immediately inform them whether the chief inspector at the Department of Labour had been contacted in respect of the issues and concerns raised relating to the building in question.