Saftu threatens strike over public sector wage increases
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Saftu affiliated unions have vowed to shut down the country after rejecting a 1.5% the government has offered them.
Johannesburg - Public sector unions affiliated to South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) have vowed to shut down the country after rejecting a 1.5% the employer has offered them.
Picketing and speaking outside the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) offices in Centurion where the conciliation is taking place inside, unions said they are demanding nothing less than a 7% salary increase.
South African Police Union (Sapu) national spokesperson Lesiba Thobakgale said they are at the bargaining council because Sapu has lodged a dispute concerning the current wage negotiations of 2021 at the council.
“During the negotiations, the employer did not come with any offer, instead, they came with a 0% based budget telling us that they would implement that for the next three years.
“Looking at how public servants are performing their duty out there taking into consideration that PSCBC resolution one of 2018 was not implemented because the employer reneged from implementing that agreement, and as we speak, we are at conciliation today, we are busy with conciliation, where in terms of the dispute procedure and in terms of the constitution of the PSCBC, when a dispute has been lodged within 30 days a conciliation has to be held in order where an independent commissioner tries to put both parties together to see if there is no agreement that can come from there,” said Thobakgale.
Saftu General-Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said workers are demanding a 7% salary increase, they are demanding adequate PPE, they also demand that all public service vacancies be filled.
“Today, and this year, we are not going to back off. This is the start of a battle for our very lives. If we lose this battle, for the next three years, who knows what will happen after 2024 because the Covid-19 third wave is happening.
“They are going to say the third wave. They are again going to ask you not to expect any kind of increase beyond 2024. We cannot go on living like this. We cannot breathe, we want a living wage as well. We are people, we have families, we have children like them.
“We are asking you to unite at this stage as Saftu first unite and speak in one voice. You must form a united point of view request with other federations to say you cannot love President Cyril Ramaphosa more than you love your own members.
“You cannot love the ANC more than you love your own members. This is the time for you to teach Ramaphosa and the ANC and embrace other workers and embark with them in a common struggle to defeat the agenda of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Ramaphosa,” said Vavi
Sapu acting president Thandi Mkhize said what the employer is offering the working class is an insult and they are not going to tolerate it.
“We are here today to say enough is enough. Parliamentarians are getting increases every year but they are failing to honour what they promised us and we are pleading with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa(Denosa) that they must come on board because if they are not smelling the coffee now we are going to put down our tools and nothing is going to happen in the country because this is our sweat and blood.
“Police officers are being killed a lot and our leaders are quiet about it. These are fathers, mothers to their families. We cannot take it any longer. What is 1.5%, do they want to see us dying, failing which, all the streets in South Africa will be closed, we are shutting down the country,” said Mkhize.
Speaking to Independent Media on anonymity, a member of the South African Policing Union (SAPU) said: “The employer did not pay a salary increase from last year even now they are offering 0%. They then decided on the guaranteed 1.5% per worker agreement from 2018 and disguised it as an increase.
As the Saftu affiliates, we rejected it. Twelve months, they will tax it and it won’t be pensionable, it's almost R350, that is nothing”.