Tebogo Msimanga |
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) has won a case of unfair dismissal of its members at the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI).
NEHAWU members were employed by the department for many years on contracts that were renewed yearly by the department.
NEHAWU Secretary Zola Saphetha said in October 2019, their members were served with another contract extension which was to remain effective from October to December 2019. “In January 2020, these workers had a reasonable expectation that they would receive letters confirming further extensions of the contract as per practice. However, they were told that there would not be any contract renewals even though they had not been served with notices for termination.”
Saphetha said the national union then declared an unfair dismissal dispute which was filed with the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) and a conciliation hearing was set down for March 2020.
“The matter remained unresolved and was filed for arbitration. The arbitration was set down for July 2020 and continued until 5th March 2021 which was a total 8 months period. An award dated 30th March 2021 was issued on the 16th April 2021 directing the department to reinstate all the unfairly dismissed workers.”
He added that this win for workers proves that they have a giant and fighting union on their side which is preoccupied with defending their rights against intransigent employers.