OPINION

DA populist stunt condemned – NEHAWU

Union says party has threatened to interdict workers from fighting for their salary

NEHAWU condemns DA populist stunt

19 March 2020

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] condemns with the contempt it deserves the populist stunt pulled by the Democratic Alliance [DA] this morning by undermining the struggle of workers for a living wage. The DA has threatened to interdict workers from fighting for their salary in increase due on the 1st April 2020. 

The DA has never been on the side of workers nor have they cared about the horrible conditions and slave wages that workers are often subjected to. They have always supported job losses in the country especially in the public service by repeating the misleading rhetoric that the public service is bloated. It is for these reasons that we are not shocked that the DA would threaten workers for demanding a wage increase and a betterment of their lives.

We condemn the opportunistic use of the corona virus to silence workers while they are being taken for a ride by government. The outbreak of the virus does not mean the struggle for decent wages must be suspended. However, it necessitates that we take extra caution in protecting our members and workers while they fight to defend what is rightfully theirs.

We find it repugnant that the DA would publicly support government to renege on an agreement that was signed between all parties at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council [PSCBC]. NEHAWU will never allow government to dishonour agreements at will thus subjecting our members to a life of poverty in the process. The current wage agreement did not come easy, workers had to fight very hard to obtain it. In this regard, workers must refuse to be robbed of their hard won gains and must fight for what is rightfully theirs.

DA must be exposed for what they represent, the capitalist class and they are proponents of the new-liberal policies pursued by government. This unprovoked attacked on workers just reminded us that the DA has always been on the side of bosses and they are bosses themselves who employ workers. Since they seem to be interested in us, we will suggest a meeting to discuss the recruitment of their workers into the fold of NEHAWU.

The DA being an anti-workers party is not ashamed to ask workers to cower down to the onslaught by government. Their disregard for collective bargaining is there for all to see and workers must see the DA for what it is – a party that advocates for a job bloodbath and a life of poverty for workers. NEHAWU has been fighting for workers since 1987 during the dark era of apartheid and for 33 years has gallantly fought for workers to earn decent wages and safe working environments.

The national union has always maintained that it will not allow workers to be punished for sins not of their making. Workers must never be used as scapegoats for problems in the fiscus. In their populist rant the DA does not mention the following:

Government last year spent R128 billion on the shambolically managed SOE’s

Last year irregular expenditure by government was at R62.60 billion

The public service is currently understaffed especially in health and education. Most workers do the job of three people while being remunerated for one.

Government has many unfilled funded vacant posts which decreases the quality of service delivery because of staff shortages.

NEHAWU is unshaken by the empty threats by the DA and calls on the DA to focus on rebuilding their party that lost most of its members and votes to the FF Plus. They must immediately stop meddling in workers struggles. Workers can stand proud knowing that they have a giant transformative public sector union to champion their interest and fend off populist rubble-rousers who are hell-bent on subjecting them to job losses and a life of poverty.

Issued by Khaya Xaba, NEHAWU National Spokesperson, 19 March 2020