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Legislature‘locked down’

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“This is despite Treasury having provided funding for the improvement of conditions of service for all employee categories, including management.”

RESTRICTED: Employees blocked the entrance of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature on Wednesday afternoon, demanding that they receive salaries that were in line with that of management. Picture: Supplied

MANAGEMENT of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature (NCPL) yesterday indicated that they were willing to sacrifice their annual increases, after a hostage drama unfolded at the precinct on Wednesday.

The entrance to the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature was blocked by employees’ vehicles, preventing people from entering or leaving the building on Wednesday. They are demand higher salaries.

The Speaker, members of the public as well as Members of the Provincial Legislature and staff were prevented from leaving after attending a petitions meeting.

Workers said that negotiations with management were postponed until Monday next week.

“People were allowed to enter the building on foot. We remained outside the legislature building until about 10pm on Wednesday night. We will be wearing black clothes to work on Monday to highlight our grievances. All workers want to be brought in line with the compensation of management employees.”

Spokesperson for the NCPL Carmen Gopane yesterday stated that while provision had been made for annual increases for management, they were prepared to forego this benefit in the “interest of organisational stability”.

“This is despite Treasury having provided funding for the improvement of conditions of service for all employee categories, including management.”

She pointed out that wage negotiations were still ongoing between legislature management and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu).

“Once there is a signed collective agreement, the negotiations will be concluded.”

She indicated that Nehawu members staged an illegal gathering on the premises on Wednesday.

“Furthermore Nehawu members blocked both entrances to the legislature with their vehicles just before 4pm where occupants of the building were held hostage for more than two hours. Members and officials of the NCPL, service providers and visitors to the building were all prevented from exiting the building.

“Nehawu members and legislature employees were subsequently informed on November 28 (yesterday) in writing that their actions were deemed to be illegal in accordance with the Labour Relations Act. They were instructed to refrain from holding illegal gatherings on the NCPL premises.”

She warned that further illegal and unprotected action would leave the NCPL with no option but to apply the principle of no work, no pay; and to take disciplinary action against employees who participated in such action.

“Operations of the legislature were interrupted. The mandating committee was meeting at the time, in pursuance of finalising the wage agreement. After deliberations held, the mandating committee decided to reconvene to conclude the matter.”

Gopane stated that the external petitions hearing continued and all seven petitioners invited to the meeting were satisfied with the outcome and resolutions made by the Standing Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Petitions and Public Participation.