- Fedusa-affiliated public sector unions have agreed to return to the wage negotiating table on Saturday, 15 May.
- Although the Public Servants Association had already declared a dispute, Fedusa said most of its affiliated unions want the 10-day facilitation period to run its course first.
- The unions want an inflation plus 4% increase, but the government has not moved from its previous offer of zero percent.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) and its affiliates are back at the wage negotiating table with the government.
The federation said its affiliated unions – including the Public Servants Association (PSA), the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) – were still committed to finding a resolution in the public sector wage deadlock as some civil servants prepared for a national strike.
Fedusa said all its affiliates met after the PSA declared a wage dispute on Tuesday, paving the way for widespread industrial action. Declaring a dispute means PSA members could go on strike in the second week of June.
Fedusa said the PSA did this because it was clear that wage talks had collapsed at the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC). But the majority of the other unions wanted to wait for the 10-day facilitation period to run its course first.
The bargaining council appointed the UN's International Labour Organisation to facilitate talks last Friday. Independent facilitation is one of the last hopes for avoiding a strike.
Fedusa said on Sunday, 9 May, the parties also roped in some economists to present options that could be used to solve the wage impasse, and the unions were still considering these options.
"Fedusa affiliates and other labour formations at the PSCBC have neither supported nor rejected the options that have been put forward by the economists as these are still under consideration. The parties also agreed to return to the facilitation process on 15 May 2021 to resume the discussions," Fedusa said in a statement.
The federation said its affiliated public sector unions remain united. However, it said should the facilitation process produce no results, it will be left with no other option but to declare a dispute.
Unions have been asking for an inflation-related increase plus 4%, which will increase public servants' salaries by around 7% in total. However, due to fiscal constraints, the government has said it cannot afford any increase and has not moved from its previous offer of zero percent.