Public servants feel the pinch as unions mull latest offer

Public service unions will meet today to decide on whether to sign the government’s wage offer, but public servants are starting to feel the pinch of the three-week civil service strike.

For Lerato Mollo, a Gauteng government employee, the next three months will be the hardest as government implements the no-work, no-pay rule from Friday.

Mollo’s increase will be R467 a month, but R1 200 will be deducted every month for three months.

Mollo said: “This will be a setback and will put a lot of pressure on me since I have some financial commitments.”

He said for the next three months the increase would make no difference.

Depending on the salary level, employees stand to lose between R660 and R7 300 a month.

Meanwhile, public service unions will meet this afternoon to decide on whether to sign the wage deal.

The unions will need 50% plus 1 to be able to sign.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), representing 247 000 members, and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), representing 140 000 members, have indicated that they will sign the offer.

Nehawu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said: “If we get support from smaller unions, we can get a majority to be able to sign.”

Both unions have indicated that signing did not mean they were happy with the wage offer, but they wanted to begin negotiation for next year’s wage increases.

Chris Klopper of the Independent Labour Caucus (ILC) has denied media reports that ILC would be signing.
He said the final decision would be taken after today’s meeting.
 
However, the SA Democratic Teachers Union, representing 245 000 members, and the Public Service Association (PSA), representing 211 000 members, have indicated that they would not sign.

PSA deputy general manager said: “We don’t have a mandate to sign the agreement.”

Should the unions not get the required majority to sign, the government might suspend the wage offer or unilaterally implement it.

Public Service and Administration spokesperson Dumisane Nkwamba said: “Nehawu and the Independent Labour Caucus have indicated that they will sign. For now, let’s not be pessimistic but wait until midnight to see what decision the unions come up with.”

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