Unions likely to reject revised offer

2010-08-16 00:00

IT seems likely that more than one million Cosatu public sector union members are going to reject the government’s revised offer of a seven percent across-the-board wage increase and R700 housing subsidy.

The unions are expected to wrap up their consultation process on the offer today.

This is the view of some KwaZulu-Natal officials within the Cosatu public sector unions.

State employees are demanding an 8,6% wage increase, a R1 000 housing allowance, an equal medical aid subsidy for all employees and for the package to be backdated to April.

The government’s latest offer on Friday after strikes last week was a housing subsidy of R700 and a seven percent wage increase, implemented from July 1.

Public servants’ unions not affiliated to Cosatu have also held strikes and marches to press their demands.

It is feared that if eight Cosatu unions, which constitute 56% of the entire government workforce, join the strike, government services will be crippled.

The Cosatu unions are Denosa, Sadtu, Sasawu, Pawusa, Nehawu, Sadnu, Sama and Popcru.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, the KZN provincial secretary of nursing union Denosa, Cassim Lekhoathi, said the unions are taking the government offer to workers for their response.

Lekhoathi said the morale of nurses is very low and there are strong indications are that they are going to reject the offer.

During the biggest wage negotiations march so far, held in Durban last Thursday by thousands of civil servants, the unions threatened an indefinite strike if the government fails to meet their demands.

Lekhoathi said the union is struggling to get the views of the workers on the offer as a circular (number 77) issued last week prevents unions from meeting workers and management in government institutions.

“We can’t have meetings in the institutions with our members and our organisational right is being transgressed. Managers in the institutions have also been prevented from talking to us and we cannot make arrangements for skeleton staffing should workers vote for a strike.

“Our call is for government to work with haste and find an amicable solution to resolve the salary impasse to prevent a possible strike …” Lekhoathi said.

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