Public servants on verge of strike

2010-07-21 13:35

A number of public service unions indicated today that they intended to strike over a deadlock with the state over salary negotiations.

The Public Servants’ Association, which has 210 000 members, said it would go on strike from July 29.

“Negotiations in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council have deadlocked, and the employer, despite numerous meetings aimed at breaking the deadlock, has not moved.”

The decision was in response to the state’s “insignificant” offer of 6.5% across the board and an increase of R120 per month on the current R500 monthly housing allowance.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union said it would also take part in the strike. The SA Municipal Workers’ Union said that it was “too early to say”, and that its members were still being consulted.

The Democratic Nursing Association of South Africa had also declared a dispute with the employer. The union had rejected the employer’s wage offer, but considered a strike a last resort.

Public Servants’ Association spokesperson Manie de Clercq said the employer had refused to budge on extending the medical subsidy of R2 500 per month.

The association approached its members for a mandate on whether or not they were prepared to embark on an indefinite strike and the majority voted in favour of the industrial action.

Based on the mandate, the Public Servants’ Association had notified the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council, in accordance with the Labour Relations Act, of a strike by its members.

“While the Public Servants’ Association remains open to finding a resolution to this growing crisis, we can no longer tolerate the employer’s total disregard for the basic needs of its employees,” said De Clercq.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said it was still unknown how many of its other affiliates would take part in a strike. 

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