Public Service salary negotiations deadlock: Unions

2011-05-06 13:37

Public service salary negotiations have deadlocked over wage demands, two unions involved said today.

“The Cosatu unions and the independent labour caucus (ILC), representing 14 unions and approximately 1.3 million employees of the state in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), reached a deadlock with the employer last night on public service wage negotiations,” the unions said in a joint statement.

The unions in February demanded a 10% salary increase.

The state counter-offered with a 4.8% offer, which labour rejected. On April 21, government offered 5%, which the unions also rejected.

“The projected CPI [consumer price inflation] for 2011 is 4.8% percent. In light of the present increases in the prices of food, electricity and fuel, as well as the expected increase in the prime bank rate, a real increase of 0.4% is totally unacceptable,” the unions said.

“Our demands essentially aim to ensure that workers are not the hardest hit given our unpredictable economic trends.”

The unions accused the employer of a “lack of urgency” in finalising negotiations to implement salary increases by May 1.

The deadlock yesterday evening “came after the employer tabled a meagre revised offer of a 5.1% then 5.2% increase in response to our compromise demand of a 9% increase”.

“It is important to note that the employer has only moved by 0.4% which demonstrates their unwillingness to conclude these negotiations amicably.”

The unions said the state had also not addressed other outstanding issues, including housing and medical aid demands.

An outside facilitator might now be called in to help the parties reach an agreement.

Last year, public servants went on a three-week, sometimes violent, strike over failed salary negotiations that crippled schools and public hospitals.

The parties eventually settled on a 7.5% wage increase.

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