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Union pickets overworking conditions

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Members of Nehawu expressed their unhappiness with their current working conditions

COMPLAINTS: Gerald Matika, Nehawu branch chairperson from the Zodwa Bekebeke education district, outside the Department of Education with a group of workers during a lunchtime picket. Picture: Soraya Crowie

NORTHERN Cape Department of Education employees who are members of Nehawu are participating in lunch-time pickets to express their unhappiness with their current working conditions.

A handful of union members picketed in front of the Kevin Nkoane offices in Kimberley yesterday.

The Nehawu branch chairperson from the Zodwa Bekebeke education district, Gerald Matika, said that they had submitted a number of worker grievances to the late MEC for Education, Grizelda Cjiekella-Lecholo, which have still not been addressed.

“We submitted a range of existing challenges, ranging from the permanent appointment of contract workers, the recruitment and selection of employees and allowances, to the late MEC and current Head of Department. The union has also addressed the same issues with the current MEC, Martha Bartlett, and management since October last year. The last meeting with the MEC and management was in August this year to assess progress made regarding the complaints, but nothing has been done,” said Matika.

Matika said that the union wanted a more conducive working environment for its members.

“We want the permanent absorption of security officers. All contract workers, such as Extended Public Works Programme workers and other contract workers, must also be absorbed by the department.

“The salaries of workers also need to be addressed. All departmental drivers must be promoted to salary level 5. All outstanding allowances need to be paid to employees.”

Matika added that workers also needed to be armed with skills to enhance their education levels.

“Non-teaching staff at schools need to have skills development programmes offered in order to have sustainable careers. Workers at schools also need to be considered for posts at the departmental offices. The department must also allocate Funza Lushaka bursaries to workers in order for them to further their studies.”

Matika said that the pickets would continue for the rest of the week and a decision on the way forward would be discussed with members on Friday.