Cape Town – The department of public service and administration said "in principle" unions have agreed to the public sector wage agreement, but no deal has been signed.
Minister of Public Service and Administration Ayanda Dlodlo was not at a briefing on Monday. She was meant to share government’s position on the public sector wage negotiations.
However, Deputy-Director General Kenny Govender informed media that salary negotiations were concluded on Friday and labour "pitched up" at 11:00 and confirmed their commitment to the “principle agreement”.
Parties are considering the agreement and once signatures are tended to the agreement, then government will be in a position to start an implementation process, he said.
He reiterated that a principle agreement is in place and government is working to collect signatures from unions. "We hoped we would have it all today," he said.
However, Tahir Maepa, the deputy general secretary of trade union the Public Servants Association, told Fin24 by WhatsApp on Monday afternoon that the PSA had not accepted the public sector wage agreement. "The PSA has rejected the offer as nothing new was presented except the fonts of the offer," he said.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union general secretary Mugwena Maluleke who is the convener for the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) confirmed to Fin24 by text that the congress's unions are committed in principle to the agreement. Cosatu will be engaging with member unions on the agreement and the signing of the deal.
"Internal processes of each union in Cosatu is appreciated and respected because we are worker controlled. The signing therefore will be preceded by such internal processes," he said.
Looking for agreement
Last week the Public Service Bargaining Council issued a statement indicating above-inflation increases were agreed to, but not by all unions. The increases included a 7.7% increase for those on salary level 1 to 7, a 6.5% increase for salary levels between 8 and 10 and 6% increase for those on salary level 11 to 12.
However the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) called for a postponement over the weekend for more time to consult with its members, Fin24 reported. The federation’s affiliate the Public Servants Association was the only union which had not agreed to the three-year deal.
All seven Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliates are ready to sign the agreement after the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) consulted with its members over the weekend, Fin24 reported.
Despite this, the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC)’s general secretary, Frikkie de Bruin, told Fin24 the signing of the deal would go ahead on Monday. Unions who have not signed the deal will have 21 days to do so before it lapses.
*Update: This article was updated at 14:29 on May 21 to include a statement by trade union the Public Servants Association and updated again at 15:40 to include comment from Sadtu's general secretary Mugwena Maluleke.
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