The public service wage negotiations must not be derailed, Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Sunday.
“We need to move on this issue so that we would be able to focus on other salient matters that are of mutual concern (for example) the professionalisation of civil service, improvement and efficiency of delivery,” Sisulu said in a statement.
“I am content that labour was able to express themselves freely about the current untenable situation. I am confident that a solution would be found.”
Sisulu met Congress of SA Trade Union's (Cosatu) public service leaders on Friday to resolve the matters relating to the current wage talks.
On Wednesday, Cosatu announced that a wage dispute had been declared with the government.
The state had offered a 6.9 percent increase during a meeting on July 4 but reduced the offer to 6.7 percent on Tuesday, the trade union federation said.
Sisulu said parties acknowledged that progress had been made but that it was regrettable that during the last phase of negotiations an agreement could not be reached.
“Union leaders expressed their dismay (at) the way government negotiated in bad faith... It was resolved that an accord would be explored where government and labour would deal with matters that impact on wage negotiations and basic principles on these would be resolved timeously,” said Sisulu.
Government and Cosatu were committed to finalising the wage talks as soon as possible.
“Beyond the current wage dispute, the discussion was extremely productive,” Sisulu said referring to the meeting on Friday.
She said labour leaders “showed great sensitivity” toward the complex issues facing the state.
“This is a significant step forward in the ongoing talks and signals a new perspective on government’s relations with labour,” said Sisulu. - Sapa