Cosatu declares a dispute

2012-07-12 00:00

COSATU public sector unions yesterday approached the co-ordinator of the public sector bargaining council to declare a dispute after their wage negotiations with government collapsed on Tuesday night.

The unions federation’s chief negotiator, Mugwena Maluleke, said lodging the dispute could result in strike action if the dispute was not resolved within 30 days.

The unions involved in the negotiations include the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union, the National Health and Allied Workers Union and the SA Medical Association.

Maluleke said the five-month-long negotiations reached a stalemate after the government went back on its latest offer of 6,9%.

“Cosatu-affiliated unions, representing over 58% the country’s public service, are of the view that the employer is negotiating in bad faith and is not interested in settling this current round of negotiations amicably,” he said.

The unions are demanding a pay increase of 7,9% and a housing allowance of R1 400 per month, while the employer is offering 6,7% and a housing allowance of R900.

However, Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has reiterated her commitment to the negotiations.

Her spokesperson, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, Sisulu, said n a statement the two parties were close to a settlement.

“We remain committed to finding a solution as soon as possible.

“We are negotiating a multi-year agreement within very limited resources; it can be frustrating at times,” she said.

It is not clear whether a strike would affect essential services, but Maluleke said a certificate of non-settlement would clarify what would happen to essential services workers in the event of a strike.

Sisulu said she had asked for a meeting with labour and that it was in everyone’s interest not to pull out of the bargaining council.

The last widespread public servants’ strike was in 2010.

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