The government and unions representing public servants will attempt to resolve their salary dispute over two parallel processes in the next month. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
The government and unions representing public servants will attempt to resolve their salary dispute over two parallel processes in the next month. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

No end to deadlock between government, unions in public service salary dispute

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published May 16, 2021

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Loyiso Sidimba

Johannesburg - The government and unions representing public servants will attempt to resolve their salary dispute over two parallel processes in the next month.

The Public Servants Association (PSA) and the SA Policing Union (Sapu) have declared a dispute with the government at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).

Trade union federation Cosatu this week slammed the government and economists for pushing for a freeze of public servants’ salaries.

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.

According to the PSA, public servants have placed their lives at risk by ensuring that citizens have been taken care of during the Covid-19 pandemic and are still committed to continue serving citizens.

The union assured its 235 000 members that it will not allow public servants to be used as scapegoats for the maladministration and corruption perpetrated by the government.

A deadlock was declared on April 23, but the employer requested a special PSCBC meeting to appoint an independent facilitator, which the PSA objected to.

The PSA wanted to follow the PSCBC process meticulously to avoid any possible technicalities that might arise when a dispute is declared.

The government has been accused of making every attempt to frustrate the wage negotiation process and its continued delaying tactics, which have created a negative atmosphere during the talks.

Government employees are unhappy that they have not received salary increases for two consecutive years, which places an enormous financial constraint on their livelihoods.

The facilitation process scheduled for this week also did not yield any results and no substantive revised offer was tabled by the government.

The eight unions with PSCBC bargaining rights maintain that the government has not made any offer since March when it informed public servants that it would be freezing their pay.

The deadlock has forced Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu to appeal to South Africans to assist the government to break the impasse.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also assured unions that his administration is committed to resolving the wage dispute.

Public servants will square off against the government at the Constitutional Court in August to challenge its failure to increase their salaries last year.

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