ANC Backs No Work, No Pay Rule

by Sep 8, 2010All Articles

8 September 2010

The ANC said yesterday it was fully behind the government’s determination to apply the “no work, no pay” rule to striking public sector workers – and has slammed Cosatu for being too “directly” involved in the bargaining process, instead of leaving the talks up to its affiliates.

“No work, no pay is non-negotiable, otherwise it is not a strike, it is a holiday,” ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told journalists in Joburg yesterday.

“It is not an issue that should even be debated.”

It is understood that before the unions agreed to suspend their nearly three-week-long strike on Monday, negotiators had asked that the strikers not have their salaries docked for the 20 days not worked.

In the DA-governed Western Cape, Cosatu has threatened to call workers out again if the provincial government did not accede to this demand. Cosatu will meet with the ANC on Monday, at its own request, to discuss the strike and possibly attempt to mend bridges.

Mantashe indicated that the ruling party was increasingly irritated with Cosatu’s very public involvement in the strike, as well as its politicking and power plays around it.

He said wage talks with the government should have been left to individual unions. “It is not right for Cosatu to be engaged directly in negotiations. It is a federation.

“Cosatu has no members? the members belong to (its affiliated) unions, and these should be responsible for its members.”

The bitter strike saw workers’ anger directed at government leaders over their conspicuous consumption, including high salaries, expensive official vehicles, and World Cup tickets and paraphernalia.

Placards carried slogans singling out President Jacob Zuma, whose honeymoon with Cosatu allies who helped to put him in power is now officially over, amid discontent over his failure to deliver on fundamental economic reforms and revelations about the enrichment of his family members through lucrative business deals.

Mantashe cautioned against personal insults hurled by alliance leaders at the ANC, but declined to give examples.

Meanwhile, The Star visited schools, hospitals and clinics yesterday and found many were not yet back to normal. Attendance at schools in the townships was dismal, but former Model C schools surveyed said there had been little or no disruption.

Things were slowly reverting to normal at hospitals, but it was unlikely that all staff would be back at their posts before the weekend.

Outside troubled Natalspruit Hospital, in Ekurhuleni, staff who gathered were asked, after a meeting with management, to go home. The meeting lasted an hour and was over at about 9.45am, nearly two hours after work should have started.

Natalspruit CEO Gilbert Motlatla went out with staff representatives to announce that the hospital would be reopened tomorrow. He said they had been asked to have the large military and police presence removed from the grounds by tomorrow.

The meeting came after hundreds of staff members arrived at the hospital but refused to enter until management had come out to address them. While most confirmed they would be coming in for work, many claimed they required “an invite back to work” by the management.

Far East Rand Hospital had reported a 100 percent absenteeism of porters, cleaners and clerks on some days during the strike and had been heavily reliant on volunteers.

In Soweto, patients were happy to find that hospitals and clinics were operating as usual.

At Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, returning striking workers were greeted by management with hugs and much hand-shaking.

Heavily armed policemen surrounded the crowd, maintaining order, as workers were escorted to their wards for work.

One clinic not operating was Tladi Clinic. Staff were apparently cleaning inside, and it was expected to open today.

This article was originally published on page 8 of The Star on September 08, 2010


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