The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has come to an agreement with disgruntled workers who had threatened to disrupt proceedings on Election Day.
Representatives of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) met with the Commission’s management structures on Monday, after issuing a foreboding statement which sparked fears of widespread Election Day disruptions.
These disruptions – typified by strike action, including interruptions of public transport and telecommunication services – are prohibited under the Electoral Act 73 of 1997.
The Union – which represents the majority of the permanent
employees of the IEC within the bargaining council – claimed that previous recommendations
had not been implemented and, as such, had created a tense working atmosphere.
The main source of discontentment was allegedly related to inadequate wages.
Other issues, including insufficient tools of trade, were also brought to the
Election Day strike action called off
Luckily for South Africans, and democracy as a whole, the
IEC managed to subdue boiling tensions and, at the very least, afford a reprieve
at this momentous point in time. The Commission issued a statement late on
Monday night, saying:
“Management of the Electoral Commission has reached an agreement with representatives of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) following an urgent meeting to address issues raised by the union on the eve of elections.
Among the issues raised by Nehawu were the implementation of an organisational review conducted over the past two years within the IEC, matters relating to tools of trade (specifically the use of private vehicles versus pool cars), and clauses dealing with strike action of IEC employees.”
The IEC explained that unsolved disputes would be revaluated
in September 2019. Salary structures, evaluations and grading will be finalised
within the next 30 days.
Issues relating to the timing of the proposed strike action
have been referred to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration