The Western Cape provincial legislature building. Picture: THE TIMES
The Western Cape provincial legislature building. Picture: THE TIMES

About 150 workers in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature have downed tools over disputes with the employer over wages and salary increases.

The strike enters day three on Tuesday as workers affiliated to the National Education‚ Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) have been demanding a 9.5% salary increase from the employer.

"We are striking because of our issue with salary negotiations, which have deadlocked. The [legislature] management is offering a 7.4% increase and our workers are demanding 9.5% increase," said Nehawu’s branch secretary in the legislature‚ Kgomotso Sekulane.

"We did our benchmarking with other legislatures in the sector and also did scientific research of what is happening in the legislative sector across the province including the cost of living in Gauteng."

On Friday‚ the workers delivered a memorandum of demands to the executives in the legislature and gave them three working days to respond. Failing that, they would call on the legislature’s other workers affiliated to the Public and Allied Workers Union SA (Pawusa) to join forces in a bid to intensify the strike.

The Gauteng Provincial Legislature has 439 employees. Nehawu represents 232 workers‚ and Pawusa 89, while the rest are not unionised.

"All we are saying is that last year‚ legislature management gave employees an 8% increase and now they are offering 7.4%. This is after everything has gone up and we are in a technical recession. All commodities have gone up and we are the only province where workers are subjected to paying e-tolls, and the trade that comes with e-toll implications is that food prices are affected‚" Sekulane said.

He accused legislature management of negotiating in bad faith by not providing them with any reason as to why they had not matched the benchmark of 8%.

"We understand that the economy is not doing well and that the national fiscus is suffering as a result of the technical recession‚ but all we are saying is that let us maintain the baseline and [the management] must give us what is there, but still management has refused‚" said Sekulane.

Legislature management was due to meet on Tuesday in a bid to find a solution to the workers’ demands.

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