Cosatu unions take salary dispute with government on arbitration

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Johannesburg – Cosatu-affiliated unions, which organise in the public service, have announced further steps against the government who they accused of failing to fulfill its commitment with regard to salary adjustments. 

The six unions, which include teacher representative Sadtu, Popcru and Denosa, were aggrieved that the government had not delivered resolutions, which stakeholders had signed at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) in May 2018. 

 “We are fully committed to present a formidable case in defence of our hard-won rights and will do everything in our power to achieve that,” read the joint statement from the unions

“Accordingly, we engaged in this Conciliation process which effectively started on May 4, 2020 and after a marathon of engagements parties could not find each other and therefore we have obtained a certificate of non-resolution,” said the unions in a statement.

Top of the resolution was that public servants salaries would be increased by between six and seven percent from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. The agreement also stated that the 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 increment would be between 0.5 to 1.0 percent. 

The unions said they were protected by the PSCBC’s Constitution as they entered the next stage of the dispute resolution “which is arbitration”. 

“On May 22 2020, we are convening a special Joint Mandating Committee (JMC) meeting to process further the developments and soberly craft a posture that is embracing all views of the collective,” said the unions.

Another agreement at the PSCBC was that police, teachers, including those employed under the Correctional Service Act, should all receive equal pay progression of 1.5% per annum. 

The resolution stated that one of the surrogacy parents were entitled to six week leave after the birth of their child.   

It was also agreed that spouses house allowances should be delinking and that there should comprehensive danger insurance.

Early this month Public Service and Administration Department Senzo Mchunu told the media that he was not prepared to comment on the matter as it was “sub judice”.

On Thursday, his spokesperson Vukani Mbhele said the department would not comment on the matter until the arbitration was completed.  

The dispute between unions and government started when Finance Minister Tito Mboweni introduced a plan to cut public sector wages by around R160 billion over the next three years to contain a rising budget deficit.

It was reported early last month that President Cyril Ramaphosa had supported Mboweni’s move. 

“Our approach is not to dramatically cut the size of the public service, but to examine the rate at which wages grow. 

“Public service wages have, on average, increased at a much higher rate than inflation over many years, and we need to fix this if we are to get public finances under control,” Ramaphosa said.

Political Bureau

By Bongani Hans
Credit: www.iol.co.za

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