Nehawu members. Picture: THULANI MBELE/SOWETAN
Nehawu members. Picture: THULANI MBELE/SOWETAN

About 200 employees of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) protested outside its offices in Wynberg‚ Cape Town‚ on Tuesday‚ demanding higher salaries and other improvements.

The workers claimed management had failed to meet demands submitted by their union‚ the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) in September last year. Protesters danced‚ chanted slogans‚ sang and waved placards.

Among their demands were higher minimum salaries‚ promotion for cleaners‚ medical aid for parents of employees‚ permanent employment for workers on contract‚ and an end to "abuse of power and prostitution for jobs".

Nehawu regional secretary Baxolise Mali told protesters: "NSFAS has been playing hide and seek. Nehawu has decided to take workers out of the workplace as we believe [it] is the language the employer would understand. If we do not get a response by Friday‚ we will call other branches to join the strike."

Linda Mcetywa‚ Nehawu chairperson in the iKapa South Region‚ said the union was aware that students who depended on NSFAS would suffer. "It is a way of forcing them to join us in this protest so that our demands are met."

The demands were handed to NSFAS CEO Steven Zwane, who said management would look into workers’ demands. "Their right to go on strike is respected. We believe we will be able to find common ground soonest."

This article was originally published by GroundUp