Civil servants signal dispute over pay hike

2012-06-05 00:00

THE government and public service trade unions are heading for a dispute, but there is no talk of a strike as yet.

Labour federation Cosatu and the Independent Labour Caucus (ILC), which together represent about 1,3 million public servants, said yesterday that the government “can do better” than its offer of a 6,5% salary increase.

Trade unions initially demanded a 10% increase and a R1 650 housing allowance, while the government started at four percent and no increase in the current R800 monthly housing allowance.

The government has also offered a multi-year agreement, but the trade unions aren’t interested.

Nkosana Dolopi, a spokesperson for Cosatu, told reporters in Centurion yesterday that negotiations reached a deadlock in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) at the end of last month.

The trade unions are insisting on a better offer from government by tomorrow at the latest.

Dolopi said the 6,5% offer took no account of the “devastating effect” of inflation on workers’ wages.

The trade unions have since revised their 10% demand to eight percent.

ILC chairperson Chris Klopper said an agreement would be found somewhere between 6,5% and eight percent.

“We hope there will be some progress, but we are expecting a formal dispute between the parties by the end of the week.”

Klopper said consensus has been reached on 20 of the 23 points in a draft agreement.

Dolopi has warned that the trade unions would emphatically not approve a multi-year agreement.

“We are available 24 hours a day to negotiate,” he said.

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