Public servants have two weeks to respond to government’s ’ridiculous’ 1.5%, R1k wage increase offer
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Cape Town - THE six trade unions representing public servants involved in the wage negotiations with the government have two weeks to respond to the employer’s latest offer.
Six of the eight unions are involved in the negotiations at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).
Cosatu affiliates, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union, SA Democratic Teachers’ Union, Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA as well as the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA and the National Teachers' Organisation of SA, which are both affiliated to the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) are expected to respond to the government’s offer by June 2.
The unions have indicated that they are consulting members on the government’s latest offer – 1.5% pay progression and a non-pensionable gratuity of R978 before tax – tabled at the facilitation process at the PSCBC.
The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers, which represents teachers and community health workers, among other state employees, described the government’s offer as “ridiculous”. It the offer was being made to get the votes for the ANC during the October 27 local government elections.
On Thursday, Cosatu backed the public service unions and expressed its hope that the negotiations would result in a settlement in order to avert a possible strike.
It urged the unions to continue mobilising for any eventuality and remain battle ready.
The federation has called for all trade unions to increase co-operation and partnerships and not allow narrow disagreements and tactical differences to divide them.
”No union or federation can take forward the current struggles alone; we all need to co-ordinate and formulate relations with other workers in SA and around the world,” Cosatu said.
The Public Servants Association (PSA), also a Fedusa affiliate, and the SA Policing Union, which is affiliated to the SA Federation of Trade Unions, have both declared a dispute with the employer at the PSCBC and were not part of the talks when the 1.5% pay progression and R978 monthly non-pensionable cash gratuity were offered.
The PSCBC has informed the PSA that its dispute has been referred for conciliation on June 3, just six days before the 30 days set out in the bargaining council’s constitution for such disputes to be heard.
If the 30 days end before a resolution is reached, a certificate will be issued to indicate that the matter is unresolved, entitling the union to embark on industrial action.
The PSA came under fire from Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu, who accused it of posturing, grandstanding and making statements that were neither responsible nor constructive.