Unions ‘on the verge’ of accepting public service wage accord – ILC

2012-07-10 07:02

Only a few hurdles remain to an agreement on wages between a number of public labour unions and the government, the unions have said.

“We are on the verge of saying that what is suggested has been acceptable to us,” Independent Labour Caucus (ILC) spokesperson Chris Klopper said yesterday.

A formal offer had not yet been made, but the parties had agreed in principle to most demands by the ILC, which represents 11 unions, he said.

Klopper said negotiations still had to deal with two outstanding issues: the size of a salary increase and the housing allowance.

“The most important outstanding issue would be the housing. We regard that as an absolute dealbreaker,” Klopper said.

He said the new housing allowance would be paid on a diminishing sliding scale and that this would adversely affect public workers, particularly nurses and teachers.

“This means they would receive lower benefits and it would be extremely difficult to sell that,” Klopper said.

He said the union and government’s position were “moving closer to a point between 6.7% and 7.5%”.

“It’s possible that a deal could be tomorrow (Tuesday) provided that the housing matter could be sorted out,” Klopper said.

The ILC claims to represent about 480 000 workers in government service. – Sapa

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