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‘Don’t test workers’, Fedusa warns amid public sector wage negotiations

File Picture: Karen Sandison/ANA

File Picture: Karen Sandison/ANA

Published May 24, 2022

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DURBAN - As public sector wage negotiations continue across the board, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) has warned the government about a possible collision course with workers who are getting agitated over low wages.

Fedusa, one of the largest federations in the country, said on Tuesday that it noted with serious concern the response by the government to the Public Service unions’ wage demands which was formally tabled at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).

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“Public servants were treated unjustly and given a raw deal due to the government's decision not to implement the last leg of the multi-term wage agreement (Resolution 1 of 2018). To make matters worse for public service employees, the government has only implemented a non-pensionable cash gratuity for the staff,” said Gregory Masondo, Fedusa chief negotiator at the PSCBC.

He decried the conditions under which many civil servants were working.

According to the union, in many cases, public servants are overworked as the government failed to fill thousands of critical vacancies in the public service that directly affects service delivery to citizens, in particular, the poor and vulnerable.

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“The vision of a capable state is simply a distant cry from the ambitions of the National Development Plan. The government has responded to the wage demands of the public service unions by only offering a cash gratuity. This in essence means no real increase in the Cost of Living Adjustment (Cola),” Masondo continued.

In a veiled threat of a possible strike, Masondo stressed that Fedusa and its affiliates were mindful of the impact that any conflict will have on the country and called on the government to review their current wage freeze and table a better offer for their members.

“Fedusa’s door remains open for engagement, but we caution that our members are becoming impatient due to the consistent bad-faith bargaining by the employer. Fedusa public service unions are seriously considering not accepting the counter offer by the employer but will be consulting with their members on the employer's response to labours’ demands,” the chief negotiator stressed.

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Speaking to The Mercury Masondo said while talk of strike action was premature, it could not be ruled out if workers’ demands were not met.

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