OSD complicated – council

2009-06-20 11:01

Pretoria - The Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD), at the root of strike threats from public service workers, was "complicated" to negotiate, the public service co-ordinating bargaining council (PSCBC) said on Friday.

Vice-chairperson of labour for the PSCBC, Alex Mahapa, said the OSD negotiations needed a lot of work, however he conceded it should have been implemented a long time ago.

He was speaking at a media briefing at the council's office in Centurion.

As doctors renewed their strike threats, the PSCBC gave an assurance that agreements on OSD - a revised salary structure applicable to the public service - would be signed by June 30.

Extensions on deadlines

PSCBC general secretary Shamira Huluman said government and labour had been in negotiations with various sector councils on the implementation of OSD since 2007.

She said sector councils had repeatedly applied for extensions on deadlines set for its implementation, which eventually culminated in the PSCBC intervening in March this year.

"This is not a simple negotiation... it's quite complicated, and has to do with a paid progression model," she said, adding that the OSD implementation affected thousands of workers.

The council expressed concern about a threat by health workers to down tools on Monday.

"The council understands the frustration of public service employees on the ground, however we make a humble appeal for employees to wait for the outcome of the current engagements, which should yield a settlement by June 30," Huluman said.

Agreements outstanding

If agreement was not reached by June 30, parties might declare a dispute which would likely culminate in workers downing tools, Mahapa said.

"But we don't envisage it going down that road," he said.

Agreements on OSD were still outstanding for doctors, correctional service officers, architects and engineers.

Huluman said government had requested a "postponement" in negotiating a settlement with doctors, and added this was to "finalise its mandate and do the number crunching".

Outstanding issues for doctors included ensuring that OSD was implemented equally across the board, that is, among interns, new doctors and very experienced doctors.