NSFAS employees stage wage protest

NSFAS employees held a strike outside their Wynberg offices over salaries.

Cape Argus reported on 6 October that more than 200 employees at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) protested outside their Wynberg offices on demands of a salary increase and other labour issues.

NSFAS employees affiliated with The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) say the industrial action followed a negotiation deadlock. The student financial aid scheme’s administrator Randall Carolissen explained that the union initially demanded a 13 percent increment, which was later revised to 8 percent. Following numerous negotiations, the employer then put a counteroffer of 4.3 percent on the table, which was rejected by Nehawu. This impasse has led to the current stalemate.

Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba said, in the Cape Argus article that the protest resulted from employees’ discontentment over a range of concerns, including lack of an integrated performance management system and automated IT system for disbursement of funds to students. They also queried the non-appointment of a chief executive and a board as well as the illegal extension of the administrator.

Additional demands include the option to switch to the government employees’ pension fund or other alternative pension fund service providers, as the current one had been found to be inadequate. Workers also demanded the application of progressive human resources policies for employee development, that obsolete human resources systems and outdated policies be done away with, and further objected to unfair suspensions and victimisation of workers based on union affiliation.

Nehawu provincial secretary Eric Kweleta said, “Government has put forward a proposal for a zero increment or a wage freeze for the 2020/21 financial year. Due to these developments, NSFAS will further engage National Treasury for a mandate on the increment matter.”