Time to decide: Public service unions mull latest wage offer, with only two unions accepting

Senzo Mchunu, minister van staatsdiens en administrasie. Foto: Getty Images
  • Last week, government tabled an offer of a 1.5% pensionable salary increase with a lump sum gratuity payable on a monthly basis ranging from R1 200 to R1 600 to public sector workers.
  • The South African Democratic Teachers' Union and National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA have accepted the offer.
  • The Police and Prison Civil Rights Union and National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union have rejected the offer, while others are still canvassing for a mandate.

Unions in the public service have continued canvassing their membership in the past week on the latest offer by government aimed at securing a public wage deal, while only two unions at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) have accepted.

On 9 July, government, through the Department of Public Service and Administration, tabled an offer of a 1.5% pensionable salary increase with a lump sum gratuity payable on a monthly basis ranging from R1 200 to R1 600 on a sliding scale from 1 April this year to 31 March next year.

Unions have been given 21 days from the formal tabling of the revised offer to consult with their membership and get a mandate to either accept or reject it.

If the majority of unions do not accept the offer, it will be off the table and one of the parties involved will have to request that it be resubmitted to the table for further negotiation, or request more time to get a mandate.

The eight unions involved in talks are the Public Servants' Association (PSA), the Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (Popcru), The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), the SA Police Union (SAPU), the Democratic Nurses Organisation of SA (Denosa), the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA (Naptosa) and the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa).

So far, Sadtu and Naptosa have accepted and signed the offer, while Popcru and Nehawu have rejected it, although the latter two unions are in the process of canvassing membership for a final mandate.

The remainder of the unions at the PSCBC are also canvasing their membership for a mandate. PSA spokesperson Claude Naicker told Fin24 that most of the unions at the PSCBC have taken the offer back to their membership.

"We have finished our online mandating process. We are busy tallying the votes to indicate whether the members have accepted it or not. As soon as our voting procedure if finished, and we anticipate that by Monday we should be finished, we will indicate whether we will accept the offer or not," said Naicker.

Denosa spokesperson Sibongiseni Delihlazo told Fin24 that the union would have a clear indication of the way forward once it had concluded its electronic balloting process with membership.

"There is nothing completely new from our side, given that we are still busy with the mandating process. At the council, we were given 21 days and we have been busy with the ballot process, and we have until 26 July. That is the time we still have, because we want to be quite thorough," said Delihlazo.

Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said he would communicate the decision on whether the union would strike after its national office bearers had met.