Deal reached on doctors' pay

2009-06-30 16:23

Johannesburg - Consensus was reached on doctors' salaries in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council on Tuesday, a negotiator for the health workers said.

However, government and unions still had to get the proposed increases accepted by union members.

"There is consensus amongst the unions on the offer, but as Sama we must get approval. It will be determined by our members," said Phophi Ramathuba, who has been negotiating for the SA Medical Association (Sama) in the council's exhaustive occupation specific dispensation (OSD) negotiations.

Ramathuba said there were some changes to the offer presented by government last week, but felt it was inappropriate to discuss them before members, many of whom have been picketing and staying away from work in support of their pay increases, had been informed.

Sama spokesperson Norman Mabasa said there were "sticky" areas that government had agreed to make certain commitments on, particularly with groups of healthcare workers who were being very badly paid.

"It's now left to the unions," said Mabasa.

Robust mood of negotiations

He said the mood of the negotiations - to address the poor pay of public sector health workers including doctors, pharmacists and dentists - was robust, but not acrimonious.

The date June 30 had been set aside by labour and government to agree on the implementation of the OSD - meant to address salary increases according to experience and expertise for public servants.

By Monday, health was a key sector still left to agree on the pay package. Employees in this sector had been waiting since 2007 for their OSD increases.

The increases were designed to address the relatively poor salaries that public sector workers received, and were also designed to recognise their special skills and retain them in the public service.