Nehawu decision on latest public service wage offer expected on Thursday
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COSATU’S biggest affiliate, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), will decide at its special national executive committee (NEC) on Thursday on the government’s latest public service wage offer.
The union is scheduled to hold its special NEC meeting to receive feedback from its negotiators at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), which held a meeting on Tuesday, where the government tabled its offer, which Nehawu says “translates to an additional R22 from the initial R978” put on the table by the employer.
In its latest proposal, the government is offering its staff between levels 1 to 12 salary increases between R1 200 and R1 700 and has indicated that the pay hike will be closer to R1 000 after tax deductions.
”Whatever happens, we shall work very hard to defend collective bargaining in the public service and by extension across the public sector,” the union promised its members in an update on Tuesday.
According to Nehawu, the union remains resolute that it will refuse to sign any offer outside baseline which does not contribute to the pensionable service, as a matter of principle.
Nehawu and other unions say they are still willing to engage with the government’s offer after being presented formally at the PSCBC guided by the mandate from their members.
”All other demands with value to our members must also be responded to by the employer, which include the implementation of a housing scheme to ensure affordable access to housing finance for public servants, permanent absorption of community health workers as part of the front-line workers at the forefront of the fighting against the pandemic,” the union said.
Nehawu has also dismissed the government’s offer of 1.5% pay progression, which it insisted would only benefit around 39 000 state employees who were not going to qualify for it (pay progression).
”However, an impression is created that the employer is offering an additional 1.5%, which is fallacy because this was already budgeted for and did not come as a result of the negotiations,” said Nehawu.
The union maintained that the majority of public servants were already assessed and awarded to receive pay progression.
The Public Servants Association (PSA) has accused the government of approaching the current round of wage talks with a “closed wallet” and proposing to increase its employees’ salaries from their own 1.5% pay progression.
The union says the government is offering no real wage increase and has not moved from the initial offer of 1.5% pay progression payable to all employees.
The government has also indicated that this is its final offer, according to the PSA.
Its members who participated in a strike balloting process are overwhelmingly in support of strike action, with only the picketing rules outstanding before the PSA embarks on industrial action.
The PSA declared a dispute in May and has not been part of the negotiations process, and was not presented with the latest revised offer.
The unions still part of the negotiations have indicated that they are taking the government’s offer to their members to obtain a mandate, according to PSCBC general secretary Frikkie de Bruin.