Labour talks on wage offer resume this week
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Johannesburg - Public sector unions negotiating with the government over wage increases are expected to table their response this week to the 1.5% pay progression placed on the table at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council.
The unions have until Wednesday to indicate whether they will accept or reject the 1.5% offered by the government which also includes a non-pensionable gratuity of R978 before tax.
There are six unions involved in the talks, a majority of which are Cosatu-affiliated unions such as Sadtu and Nehawu. Others, including Naptosa, are Fedusa affiliates.
Some unions had expressed their unhappiness about the offer and were expected to gauge the mood from members on the way forward.
Meanwhile, the Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA), which represents thousands of workers in the public sector and is a Fedusa affiliate, will head into a conciliation process with the government on June 3.
The union had declared a dispute and was not part of negotiations when the 1.5% offer was made. The union was heavily criticised by Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu for electing to file a dispute and not form part of negotiations.
Reuben Maleka, from the PSA, said the union hoped the conciliation process would bear fruit and, if not, then a mandate for a strike would be on the table if members wished to proceed with it. Maleka said the union rejected the offer made by the government.
“We expect to discuss a possible settlement with the employer and we hope they will bring a proper offer that we will be able to mandate. Should we fail, we will get a certificate for non-resolution.
“The next step (if negotiations fail) is to get a mandate to strike and we will then give notice for a strike.
“We never said we do not want to be part of the process. We were just excluded,” Maleka explained.
Meanwhile, in the local government sector, negotiations were expected to resume between unions and the SA Local Government Association (Salga) at the South African Local Government Bargaining Council.
Samwu is demanding a minimum sectoral wage of R15 000; a R4 000 salary increase across the board; six months fully-paid maternity leave; one month of fully paid parental leave; and a R3 500 housing allowance.
Salga has proposed a 2.8% salary increase. Talks between unions and Salga are set to resume on June 3-4.
Papikie Mohale, from the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), said the union had concluded its consultation with members. He said Samwu would resolve the final wage demand mandate today, during a national executive committee meeting, and make changes, if needed, to the initial wage demands.