Far from over: Public wage deal sets tone for rocky negotiations ahead

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Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu.
Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu.
Matthew Middleton

The Department of Public Service and Administration may have announced a breakthrough after a long, tough period of public service wage negotiations. But this doesn't mean the struggle is over: the offer itself, and the manner in which it has polarised public service unions, could set the tone for trickier negotiations in future.

This is according to analysts and union leaders, speaking in the wake of an announcement that the majority of unions accepted government's revised offer. The offer includes 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 to 31 March next year.

Director and employment law expert at Cliffe Dekker-Hofmeyr, Thabang Rapuleng, described the agreement as a "compromise from both sides", saying there was still room for rating agencies to raise an eyebrow at the cost to the fiscus.

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