Nehawu workers at the Mapulaneng Multipurpose Centre recently protested about the issue of safety at the center. On Wednesday, the 15th of August management arrived for work at the center only to find it barricaded. The striking workers are sworn that no one would enter the center until their grievances have been attended to. As they are sick of the poor working conditions they are working in.
When addressing the workers, union leader who refused to be named said because their grievances aren’t taken seriously it calls for them to act. He said that the union met with the MEC of Education, Sibusiso Malaza on the 12th of July, who promised them that an imbizo would be arranged once they have met with all stakeholders. The leader told the workers that they met again with the director on the 25th of July, who agreed that he has been procrastinating the imbizo. He said that the imbizo was then set for the 14th of August.
“NEHAWU is angry that the imbizo never happened and nothing was said to us, hence we took action today. We will fight until our grievances are taken seriously. So I’m also appealing to you comrades to join in the fight in order to ensure the safety of your working conditions. The offices we work in are also dilapidated. We have made several submissions to the director who said they are working on the issue of an imbizo where the issue of safety and theft would be dealt with but nothing is being done” the leader told the workers.
He also spoke about two female workers who were nearly raped inside the center, workers being robbed on the center and tyres being stolen off cars. He repeated that they won’t stop protesting until the management takes action and do the right thing as required by section 8 of the occupational health and safety act. He said that the management knows about the issue of safety on the campus because it has been going on for a while but no action.
After talking to the management, they decided to wait for the district officials so they could discuss the way forward. Together with the regional leadership, they decided that they will have a meeting with the management in order to communicate and engage these grievances and they promised the workers to come back to report the outcome.
According to the leaders, workers safety, in their demand includes the following:
- An imbizo.
- Security reinforcement.
- 18 security guards are employed to ensure the safety of the workers so that six can work day-shift, six night-shifts while six are off.
- Management should fix the toilets, which are not working.
- Broken windows should be repaired.
- Accessibility should be dealt with, people should be searched when they enter the premises.
- Workers should get access cards
- Management should fix the fence, which has holes.
One of the leaders also told the workers that it is sad that two female workers were nearly raped and wheels have been stolen off cars. He promised them that a memorandum will be submitted at the head office. The workers were still protesting at the time of going to print.