Majority of unions sign public sector wage agreement

A majority of trade unions have signed the public sector wage agreement, the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) said on Friday. 

The PSCBC, a central bargaining council within the labour market, issued a statement on Friday saying that 65.74% of trade unions agreed to salary adjustments and improvements on conditions of service in the sector for three years, from 2018/19 to 2020/21.

A majority of 50%+1 employee agreement is required to implement the deal.

The fact that a majority of unions have signed means thatthe wage deal will be extended to all public servants.

The unions which signed include

  • the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu),
  • the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu),
  • the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru),
  • the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa),
  • the South African Medical Association (Sama),
  • the Public and Allied Workers Union of South Africa  (Pawusa),
  • the South African State and Allied Workers Union (Sasawu),
  • the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) and
  • the Suid Afrikaanse Onderwysers Unie (Saou).

General secretary of the PSCBC, Frikkie De Bruin, said that parties were "resolute in negotiating an amicable settlement, irrespective [of] various challenges".

"Everyone may not be happy with everything in the resolution, but overall it attempts to address in some form the needs of every one of the 1.3 million public servants impacted by the agreement," he said.

Discussions reached a deadlock earlier this week, with the Public Servants Association (PSA) demanding a 12% wage increase across the board. Government offered a 7% increase for lower level workers, 6.5% for mid-level employees and 6% for senior managers.

Unions had started tabling demands in September 2017.

PSA strike a 'futile exercise' 

The PSA then announced plans for a nationwide strike on June 11. The Federation of Unions of South Africa, of which it is an affiliate, issued a statement on Friday supporting the decision.

PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks told Fin24 by phone on Friday that going forward with the strike would be a "futile exercise" as the majority of unions had signed the agreement, so the strike would not have much impact.

"As the PSA we still believe it is a very negative deal that the minister (of public service and administration) has offered public servants," he said.

"It is disappointing that the employer did not sell us out. We were sold out by unions who are supposed to be our comrades."

He added that a planned strike for 5000 of its members working for the South African Social Service Agency (Sassa) was still on the cards. But the PSA will engage with the minister and try reach an agreement by Monday.

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