Public servants reject state pay offer

2010-05-25 11:03

A group of public servants has rejected the state’s 5.3% pay offer

and now plan to declare a dispute, a spokesperson for the Independent Labour

Caucus (ILC) said.

ILC chairperson Manie de Clercq said: “Public servants are also

subject to the devastating combined effects of inflation, rising electricity

bills, petrol price increases, and municipal service hikes which severely erode

their spendable income and poverty is, as a result, becoming a growing reality

for the average public servant in lower and middle echelons.”

The ILC is a group of unions that represent over 40% of the public

servants in the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council.

The Congress of

SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) represents about 56% and the remainder do not belong to

unions.

De Clercq said negotiations had deadlocked on May 20 when the state

would not go higher than a move of 0.1% on its initial offer.

The inflation

figure for March was 5.1%. Unions had lowered their demand to 10.5% from

11%.

The ILC includes the National Professional Teachers Organisation of

SA, the National Public Service Workers Union, the Professional Educators Union

and the SA Policing Union, and represents about 400?000 people, said De

Clercq.

He said that members saw the inflation rate – which was not far

from the government’s offer – as a maintenance amount.

But this did not take

into account increases that were way above inflation such as electricity and

fuel costs.

Other aspects of the negotiations were a push for an increases in

the medical allowance and an increase in the housing allowance from the current

R500 a month to R1?650.

The dispute would be filed with the bargaining council, which had

the same powers as the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration,

and the ILC hoped that the 30 days that then followed to give parties time to

mediate the dispute, would yield a resolution.

If that failed, a strike notice would be filed and another seven

days would lapse.

There would also be days in between to poll members for their

mandates on how to proceed.

This meant that if there was a strike, it would be unlikely to

affect the World Cup.

“We as the ILC never wanted to use the World Cup as a bargaining

chip,” said De Clercq.

A Cosatu spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on

their current position.



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