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Johannesburg - The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) has warned government not to unilaterally implement the public sector wage agreement but rather seek to find an inclusive approach to conclude the wage negotiations.

Fedusa notes that government, the employer in the public service sector, has tabled its final offer in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) for 2018, 2019, and 2020 which is backdated to April 1, Fedusa general Secretary Dennis George said on Sunday.

For 2018, government is offering a seven percent increase for salary levels one to seven; 6.5 percent for levels eight to 10; and six percent for salary levels 11 to 12. For both 2019 and 2020, it is offering projected inflation (CPI) plus one percent for levels one to seven; CPI plus 0.5 percent for levels eight to 10; and projected CPI for salary levels 11 to 12. 
 
"It is [important] to note that the three-year agreement would bind public servants for the period and for this reason it is important for workers in the public sector to carefully consider the final offer of the employer," George said.

It was unreasonable for government to "steamroll" the agreement through the PSCBC over the weekend. Fedusa argued that public servants should take their time to reflect on the offer and trade unions should consult their grassroots structures. Fedusa therefore called on all trade unions in the public service to place public servants at the heart of collective bargaining and not to violate their constitutional rights, he said.

"This is specifically important because the final offer of the employer is not in accordance with the agreed position of organised labour and therefore it is essential that trade unions should not hastily agree to sign a long-term agreement without consultation. It is the constitutional right of public servants to bargain freely and caution must be exercised upon considering the timing of such an offer from the employer. 

"Fedusa warns government not to unilaterally implement the wage agreement but rather seek to find an inclusive approach to conclude the wage negotiations," George said.

African News Agency/ANA