South Africa: Cabinet Welcomes End of Public Sector Strike

Public sector workers protest in Cape Town on Wednesday March 8, 2023.

Cabinet has welcomed the judgment by the Labour Court, which ruled that members and employees who are employed in essential services are prohibited from striking.

"The right to strike is protected by the Constitution but this must be done in a manner that ensures continuous delivery of essential services, which includes ensuring the life, health and personal safety of the population.

"Cabinet condemns in the strongest possible terms the lawlessness and intimidation that characterised the public sector strike and negatively affected the lives of citizens through lack of service delivery," Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said on Thursday.

Ntshavheni told a media briefing that Cabinet was apprised that on Tuesday, parties at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) concluded a Settlement Agreement to end the public sector strike.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) suspended the public healthcare worker strike, saying an in-principle settlement was reached with government over salary increases for 2023/2024.

"Cabinet welcomed this progressive outcome that will result in the orderly return to work by all workers. The settlement agreement paves the way for the parties to return to the 2023/24 wage negotiations. Cabinet further expressed its appreciation to those trade unions that remained in the PSCBC to continue with negotiations," Ntshavheni said.

Cabinet, the Minister said, reiterated the need for disciplinary action to be taken against those who behaved in a manner that disrupted public services and threatened the lives of citizens.

"Cabinet has also instructed that no work, no pay must be applied immediately."

Cabinet reiterated government's commitment to the bargaining process, and to working with all relevant partners to ensure that the primacy of collective bargaining is protected and respected.

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