25 September 2023

SOUTH AFRICA: Pay offer accepted by unions

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A damaging strike in the South African Public Service has been averted after nine public sector unions signed on to the Government’s pay offer.

The unions, affiliated to the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), represent a 65.74 per cent majority of all bodies representing the country’s 1.3 million PS employees, meaning the agreement automatically comes into place.

The one non-COSATU union opposing the deal, the Public Service Association, raised the white flag and called off a strike that would have brought many Government services to a standstill.

It means workers will be getting pay increases of between 6 and 7 per cent, backdated to 1 April, and a restructured housing allowance.

The settlement has taken months of protracted talks between the Department of Public Service and Administration and public sector unions meeting under the auspices of the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).

General Secretary of the PSCBC, Frikkie de Bruin (pictured) said collective bargaining was the ultimate winner, with parties resolute in negotiating an amicable settlement, irrespective of various challenges.

“Not everyone may be happy with everything in the resolution, but overall it attempts to address in some form the needs of the 1.3 million Public Servants impacted by the agreement,” Mr de Bruin said.

Deputy General Manager of the PSA, Tahir Maepa predicted a bitter inter-union struggle ahead when he said COSATU was bent on using its majority status to bail out the Government.

“We will work to earn support from Public Servants and strip COSATU of its majority in 2021,” Mr Maepa said.

“For the past 10 years, it has been signing bad deals at the expense of workers.”

The Government has welcomed the deal even though it exceeded the money set aside for salary adjustments by some SAR30 billion (A$3 billion).

The Department of Public Service and Administration said the result “calls for cost containment measures to ensure that the wage bill remains within the existing compensation ceilings”.

Pretoria, 11 June 2018

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