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Protest disrupts Public Works

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“Deductions must not be made from our members’ salaries because they were at work but were prevented from entering the building.”

TYRES were set alight outside the offices of the Department of Roads and Public Works in Colville yesterday while vehicles were also prevented from entering the building.

Spokesperson for the department, Crystal Robertson, said that management had not received any notification of the intention to strike.

“This was an illegal protest. On two consecutive days staff members only had access to the building after two hours when the police intervened,” Robertson said.

“The entire branch executive of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), plus a few ordinary members of the branch, participated in protest action on Monday and Tuesday (yesterday) morning.”

She indicated that the interlocking bricks of the paved road was damaged during the burning of the tyres.

“There was no memorandum handed over. Management had a meeting with the Nehawu’s provincial and branch executive members and they agreed to submit their grievances within two days. The operations of the department were disrupted although no injuries were reported.”

Nehawu’s provincial secretary, Steffen Cornelius, stated that union members were locked out of the building after they attempted to meet with the Head of Department (HOD) regarding old grievances that had never been addressed.

“Deductions must not be made from our members’ salaries because they were at work but were prevented from entering the building.

“The grievances include (allegations of) corruption, irregular appointments, flouting of recruitment procedures and outsourcing of services, such as gardening and cleaning.”

He indicated that they managed to secure a meeting with the HOD yesterday.

“The department must get back to us on February 26. We have yet to secure a meeting with the MEC. In the meantime we will meet with our members to discuss the way forward.”

Cornelius denied that no member disrupted operations at the department. “They were hostile towards us.”