Cosatu affiliates prepare for the worst

2010-07-29 16:33

While members of the Public Servants’ Association of South Africa embarked on strike action today, Cosatu-affiliated unions might also go on strike from next Thursday if a revised offer by the government is rejected.

Cosatu-affiliated unions have given the government seven working days to respond to their demands.

The unions include the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union, the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union, the South African Democratic Nurses Union, Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa, the South African State and Allied Workers’ Union, the South African Democratic Nurses Union, South African Medical Association, and Public and Allied Workers’ Union of South Africa. They all represent about 56% of public servants.

Workers are demanding an 8.6% salary increase and a R1?000 housing subsidy, while the governm ent is offering only 6.5% and an increase of R120 on the current R500 housing subsidy.

An employee at the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development said Nehawu, one of the largest unions in the public sector, reported to its members today that it has given the government seven days to meet its demands.

Sizwe Pamla, Nehawu spokesperson, confirmed that all the Cosatu-affiliated unions in the public sector have given the employer seven days to put a new offer on the table.

He said should the government fail to respond positively public servants would embark on a strike action next Thursday. “In the meantime, we will go on lunchtime pickets to build momentum towards the strike action.”

Phophi Ramathuba, chairperson of SA Medical Association, representing about 8?000 doctors employed by the government, said members might also go on strike if they decide to support the looming industrial action.

Ramathuba said: “Even though we are regarded as essential services, if our members decide to go on strike we will support their action.”

Dumisani Nkwamba, spokesperson for the Department of Public Service and Administration, said talks were underway at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council where the government will this evening table a revised offer.

He would not say how much the government will offer the unions.

“As government we remain hopeful that our offer will help avert the strike action which could have a disruptive impact on the economy and the provision of services,” said Nkwamba.


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