The COSATU unions in the public sector under Joint Mandating Committee (JMC) representing SADTU, POPCRU, NEHAWU, DENOSA, PAWUSA and SAMA wish to express their compelling disapproval of what we believe as PSA's double standards and crude misleading public posturing as the public sector wage negotiations unfold in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).
We believe the PSA has taken a decision to lie to both its members and the public and this was further made clear through its statement published on the 15th of May 2018 regarding the ongoing negotiations.
We can place it on record that the PSA as a matter of fact has already declared a dispute and received its certificate of non-resolve. The receipt of the certificate of none-resolve post a conciliation intervention simply means that the PSA had effectively declared its loss of confidence in the process unfolding at the level of the PSCBC. Furthermore, this means that the PSA was now exploring other methods to unlock the stalemate outside of the ongoing negotiations.
To our astonishment, the very PSA continued to form part of and fully participate in the negotiations after declaring and publicly communicating its loss of confidence in the ongoing process at the level of the PSCBC. In a statement released on the 15th of May, the PSA went further to communicate that it was now balloting its members for what we suppose will be some form of an industrial action. We also believe it's mischievous for the PSA to single out one of the COSATU Unions in their statement insinuating that others have signed the agreement whilst negotiations are ongoing.
It is our very strong view that the PSA is now playing to the gallery and its sole intention is to give the false public impression of having ultimately being the catalyst to unlocking the stalemate. We believe the PSA is performing a form of public relations gymnastics based on its double standards and hypocrisy which is where our disapproval emanates from. If it was to be honest to its members and the public, the PSA should have immediately halted its participation in the PSCBC after declaring a dispute.
An uncomfortable reality however which is where the PSA finds itself is that inherently, it does not have the organisational capacity to mount a significant industrial action in the public service on its own. It has never done so in history and prospects of it doing so on its own in the current discourse are extremely limited to non-existent. It's common course that COSATU unions have embarked on impeccable strikes in the past that benefited members of the PSA who were not on strike and it is regrettable that the PSA would like to blackmail other unions that are fighting for a solution inside the chamber.
What is clear is that in the eventuality that a dispute is declared by the other public sector unions as well which are still in negotiations, the PSA will in all probability "hide everything from the public servants, tell lies and claim easy victories" to paraphrase Amilcar Cabral's famous quote.
This is an extremely sensitive stage of the negotiations and we are of the view that honesty and integrity must be what guides them as a matter of principle. Very few can argue that there is any molecule of honesty in an organisation that formally declares the loss of confidence in a process and yet continues to opportunistically participate in it and even release statements about it in public. We encourage the PSA to choose a struggle and in this case it is a process outside of the current negotiations in the PSCBC instead of blatantly lying to the public in general and its members in particular.
COSATU public service unions spoke out strongly against the delaying tactics of the employer and its generally intransigent behaviour during the current phase of the negations. We have engaged our members extensively as worker-controlled unions and we would be the first if the need arises to go on a head- on-collision against the employer. We would do this without any fear or favour because a strong and decisive posture against the employer forms the very essence of our existence as red unions in the Public Service.
We are committed to the process of negotiations and remaining locked to the cause whilst the PSA is enjoying the game of "running with the fox and hunting with the hounds." If they (PSA) had the will and clout, why play to the gallery instead of seriously mobilising their members and take it to the streets without posturing on media seeking public sympathy?
We as COSATU unions remain confident that we are still advocating for the rights of our members by remaining in the bargaining and exhausting all available avenues to a negotiated settlement. The adjournment of the Council yesterday is a normal process for any party to go and seek mandate when new demands of offer is tabled.
We are therefore calling for maximum unity amongst all our members during this phase of negotiations. Let us not be divided by self-serving public stunts and rather focus on the bigger picture, and that picture consists of a better deal for all the public servants.
Issued on behalf of the COSATU JMC