Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Cosatu: Public servants’ salary freeze an ’insult’

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published May 12, 2021

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TRADE union federation Cosatu on Wednesday slammed the government and economists for pushing for a freeze of public servants’ salaries.

Commemorating International Nurses Day, the country’s biggest federation described the government’s delay in improving its 0% offer to its employees as insulting.

”The failure by the government to pay nurses and other public servants their wage increases last year and the intransigent attitude they have adopted towards the current public service wage negotiations is regrettable and insulting, especially for the nurses that serve as front-line workers waging a war against a deadly disease,” Cosatu said in a statement.

The federation was also unhappy that some economists were supporting the salary freeze, which the government has indicated may last until 2024.

Negotiations at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) have deadlocked and despite the involvement of the UN’ agency, the International Labour Organization (ILO), to partner the PSCBC and assist the independent facilitator, there has been little movement in the talks.

PSCBC general secretary Frikkie de Bruin said the bargaining council would reconvene this weekend to consider the facilitators’ proposals.

SA Federation of Trade Unions affiliate, the SA Policing Union (Sapu), and the Public Servants’ Association, which is affiliated to the Federation of Unions of SA, declared disputes with the government on Friday and Tuesday, respectively.

The dispute will now head to conciliation, which could last up to an additional 30 days.

However, due to the fact that the majority of the eight unions representing over 1.2 million government employees at the PSCBC are yet to declare a dispute, engagements will continue with the assistance of the ILO.

De Bruin said the PSCBC understood public servants’ frustrations after not receiving pay hikes last year and the government being unwilling to improve its 0% salary increase since March.

The negotiations are being held against the backdrop of the rising cost of living, basic products and services, but the PSCBC needs more time to resolve the impasse and facilitate an amicable solution, according to De Bruin.

Sapu has indicated to Independent Media that it will not waste any time with the facilitation process, hence the union declared a dispute.


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