Preparations for public service strike to start on June 11
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Johannesburg - One of the biggest unions representing public servants has threatened to start preparations for a strike as early as next Friday should the current wage negotiations not yield results.
The Public Servants Association (PSA), which represents over 235 000 government employees, declared a dispute at the negotiations at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) on May 11 and the matter should be resolved within 30 days failing which strike balloting can commence.
According to the PSA, it will comply with the requirements of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and start strike balloting.
Disputes must be resolved through conciliation within 30 days from the date the matter was referred and if it remains unresolved within that period a certificate of non-resolution must be issued by the commissioner overseeing the process entitling the PSA to embark on industrial action.
The union’s Reuben Maleka told Independent Media that it would wait for June 11 and give notice to strike.
”The panellists could not conciliate as the employer came unprepared,” he said.
The negotiations resumed at the PSCBC on Thursday where the government raised a jurisdictional issue, which the PSA said was a delaying tactic.
”It (the government) argued that the dispute referred by the PSA was premature as the majority of other unions are still engaged in negotiations (through facilitation). The employer refused to deliberate on its argument orally and requested to submit arguments in writing,” the union explained.
The PSA described the government’s argument as inferior and a clear demonstration that the employer is afraid to engage in a fair negotiation process but would rather manage negotiations with weaker unions under facilitation.
”Public service negotiations and the future of collective bargaining are under serious threat with an employer and friendly unions that are willing to exclude the PSA from negotiations and thereby compromise public servants’ conditions of services and improved salaries,” the union warned.
Public servants who are losing patience should not be made scapegoats and the government should take responsibility for the country’s financial crisis, according to the PSA.