Public service unions mull strike

2010-07-13 12:36

The Public Servants Association (PSA) is balloting its 210 000 members on whether they should go on strike over what they consider an unacceptable pay offer, according to a statement today.

The PSA’s deputy general manager, Manie de Clercq, said: “The responses received to date via the various provincial structures clearly indicate that the majority of members who participated in the mandating processes are in favour of strike action and this support base is growing daily.”

Conciliation failed on June 29 when both sides became stuck at a 6.5% increase and a hike in housing allowance from R500 to R620 per month.

The conciliator issued a certificate on June 29 indicating that the various disputes remain unresolved.

De Clercq said so far 80% of their members had opted to strike, and they hoped to finalise the canvassing by Friday.

They worked in home affairs, deeds offices, immigration and public hospitals.

Other unions also bargaining in that chamber include the SA Democratic Nurses Union (Denosa), the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union, the Police and Prisoners’ Civil Rights Union, the SA Onderwysersunie (SA Teachers’ Union) – up to 1.3 million employees, according to De Clercq.

Denosa spokesperson Asanda Fongqo confirmed they were part of the Congress of SA Trade Unions sector within the bargaining chamber and had their sights set on the same salary and related improvements, which included a housing allowance of R1 000 and an increased medical aid contribution.

He defended asking for an increase over the 4.6% inflation rate, saying it was “definitely not high” compared with the rocketing cost of living.

They had been flexible with their negotiations, dropping from their initial demand of 13% but government had not budged.

They believed public servants deserved increased salaries so that, for example, nurses could be retained.

Public service department spokesperson Dumisani Nkwamba said Minister Richard Baloyi, was meeting unions on tomorrow in the hopes of finding a resolution to the impasse. Further details would be made available after that meeting.

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