Unions to square off with government over public servant wage increases
Johannesburg - The country’s biggest public sector union, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), will square off against the government next Wednesday to fight for the salary increases of state employees.
The Cosatu-affiliate filed arbitration of its dispute with the government at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) after the failure of conciliation proceedings last month.
”We shall wait for the decision of the arbitration which will be facilitated by the PSCBC on the 17th June 2020 as it was referred by our national office bearers,” the union announced on Friday.
According to Nehawu in Mpumalanga, it will continue to mobilise its members to be ready for any action against this employer who is trying to renege from a signed agreement.
”We further call all Cosatu affiliates to be more united particularly during this difficult moment because employers both from the public and private sector are on an offensive attack using Covid-19 as an excuse to manipulate and exploit workers,” the union stated.
The government has blamed poor economic growth leading to sovereign credit downgrades and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic for failing to implement the wage increases and seeking its renegotiation.
Nehawu maintained that the entire public service has been at the forefront of serving the country under very difficult conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic and that it was unthinkable for the government has decided not to give its employees what is due to them as per the agreement signed in 2018.
Nehawu also indicated that it will communicate the outcomes and way forward after the arbitration processes.
The looming arbitration comes as other public sector unions – the Public Servants Association, the National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA, the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA, the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union and the National Teachers Union – are heading to the Labour Court in Braamfontein, Johannesburg to declare that the government’s failure to implement the salary adjustments agreement is in breach of their members’ employment contracts.