NEHAWU open criminal case against cops and University of Pretoria

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By Dimakatso Modipa

NEHAWU striking workers at the Brooklyn police station Tshwane to open a case photo by Dimakatso Modipa
NEHAWU striking workers at the Brooklyn police station Tshwane to open a case photo by Dimakatso Modipa

Members of trade union National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) marched to the Brooklyn police station this morning (Tuesday) to open a criminal case against the South African Police Services and the University of Pretoria management.

The trade union’s drastic action follows an incident yesterday wherein 45 workers and 20 students were allegedly injured after police used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse striking workers at the institution.

The striking workers got involved in a verbal altercation with the police at the premises of the university before the police resorted to using force to disperse them.

The strike started on 15 February this year after wage negotiations between the university’s management and Nehawu broke down.

Nehawu members are demanding a 7% salary increase while the management is offering them a 4% increase.

Nehawu members are also demanding long service awards for workers who have been working at the institution for 10 years, 15 years and 20 years.

At the moment the university is offering long service awards to those who have been working at the University for 20 years.

In relation to Monday morning’s shooting incident, Nehawu decided to open a case against the SAPS and the university’s management.

In a statement sent to Tshwane Talks today, the university’s head of communications Rikus Delport said that the university hasn’t received any reports regarding people who were shot and injured at the University’s campus yesterday.

Nehawu’s Tshwane deputy secretary Goitsemang Mathekga told the media today that she has it on good authority that the management of the university awarded itself bonuses in June last year.

“How can the management award itself bonuses if it is not going to afford the 7% increase demanded by workers?” asked Mathekga.

“As Nehawu we tried to move from our original position in order to meet the management halfway but the management is still offering 4%,” explained Mathekga.

“The employers is clearly negotiating in bad faith,” fumed Mathekga.

Mathekga has indicated that Unisa, Wits University and Nelson Mandela University management authorities have already awarded their employees a salary increase of more than 6% recently.

“What is so unique about UP that it can’t award workers salary increases that they deserve?” she asked.

Mathekga also criticised the university management for allegedly singling her out as the cause of the strike.

“We are aggrieved that the University undermines the intelligence of 1 200 members of Nehawu at the UP by suggesting that they can’t be held responsible for the strike and that only Matuba and I are responsible for this labour action,” said Mathekga.

“Tomorrow we are still continuing with the strike and we are not going to stop up until we are heard on, up until the offer that they are offering us is suitable for workers that are sitting here, said University of Pretoria branch chairperson Tlou Matuba.

Meanwhile, the university’s Rikus Delport indicated that the institution has obtained a court order which prohibits striking workers from defying the picket line and threatening the safety of students and disrupting lessons at UP.

Gauteng Police Spokesperson Brigadier Dimaktso Nevhulwi confirm that two people opened a case of of assault and no one is arrested.

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