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Nehawu signs pay deal as Parliament assures workers of building safety in wake of blaze

Parliament has assured its staff that it was safe to return to work this week following a fire that gutted parts of the historic building on January 2. Photograph: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Parliament has assured its staff that it was safe to return to work this week following a fire that gutted parts of the historic building on January 2. Photograph: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 18, 2022

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Parliament has welcomed a 1.5% salary increase agreement with National Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) which will take effect from next month.

The union also negotiated a once-off cash payment of R22 000 for all employees of the South African legislative sector.

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This once-off amount is due to back pay of R1 833.30 per month for the period from April 2021 to March 2022.

In a statement issued by Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo yesterday, it was confirmed the salary negotiations for the South African Legislature Employers' Organisation, representing provincial legislatures and Parliament, were concluded last Friday.

The union had threatened a strike that could have brought Parliament and the nine legislatures to its knees and could have affected this year’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Staff working at Parliament and who belonged to Nehawu remained outside the precinct awaiting their employer to provide them with proof it was safe to resume work on Monday.

Nehawu also consulted Parliament on its “no work, no pay” rule after the January 2 fire that gutted the Old and the New Assembly buildings. The union had claimed an employee had a right to refuse to work in an unsafe environment.

Mothapo reported Parliament management met with Nehawu leaders to share important information relating to the safety of buildings on the precinct yesterday.

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“Parliament’s management reiterated their commitment towards ensuring the safety of all the employees and other stakeholders on the parliamentary precinct. Following these fruitful engagements, all employees who were expected to be at work on Monday returned to their workstations,” Mothapo said.

Parliament reiterated only the National Assembly, Old Assembly, and the National Council of Provinces' buildings were affected by the fire and were currently off-limits to staff. The other buildings, including the Marks building, 90 Plein, 100 Plein, and the Good Hope Centre, were open and safe for officials.

“Despite the devastation of the fire disaster that gutted parts of the parliamentary precinct, Parliament once again assures workers of their safety in buildings that were not affected by the fire,” Mothapo said.

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Political Bureau

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