24 June 2012

South Africa: Govt, Unions to Resume Wage Negotiations

COSATU general secretary,Zwelinzima Vavi

Pretoria — Labour unions and government are expected to return to the negotiations table tomorrow, after wage talks deadlocked on 14 June.

"The Minister for Public Service and Administration Lindiwe Sisulu has been informed by the Secretary of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Chamber (PSCBC) that following her call for labour unions and the employer to return to negotiations, both parties have agreed to continue with the negotiations with the first meeting scheduled for tomorrow," the Public Service and Administration Ministry said on Sunday.

Government is offering a complete package of a 9 percent wage increase - made up of 6.5 percent in wages and salaries and 2.5 percent in benefits.

The offer includes recognition of long service, an increase in night shift allowance, a cash bonus of 10 percent of employee's salary on improvement of qualifications as well as an increase in shop steward, family responsibility and pre-natal leave.

At the opening of negotiations, labour unions demanded a 10 percent across the board increase. This was later reduced to an 8 percent cost of living adjustment. Among other things, they are demanding a year-agreement, while government insists on a multi-year agreement.

Sisulu commended the unions for accepting her invitations to come back to negotiations and was convinced that both parties would reach finality of the current negotiations as soon as possible.

"With over 1.3 million employees in the national and provincial governments and close to one million in municipalities and other institutions of government, the public service must lead in productivity and be at the forefront of our service delivery and collective efforts for a South Africa free of poverty and joblessness" said the minister.

She emphasised her commitment to a public service that understood the urgent expectations of all South Africans and that work hard every day to meet these expectations and enjoy exceeding them.

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