Government using delay tactics in wage negotiations: Unions

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The unions representing public service workers have accused the government of using delaying tactics such as pleading poverty in the conciliation talks taking place at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council in Centurion, north of Johannesburg.

Unions say they want government to withdraw the three percent wage offer, which their members have largely rejected.

Unions are demanding a 10 percent salary increase and have threatened to go on strike in the coming days.

Public Servants Association chief negotiator, Jannie Oosthuizen says, “While we were negotiating, the employer again is using delaying tactics and pleading poverty and trying to get in the back door of bringing things which are not for this time around.”

“I think it is clear and eminent that the employer is going to keep playing delay tactics that we as labour cannot allow this time around. We want to send a message to the employer that they must not underestimate the unity of labour this time around. We will take it to the streets.”

Back to the drawing board for public servants:

Meanwhile, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Free State plans to intensify their mobilisation of all affiliates across the province for the upcoming national shutdown as a result of the ongoing public sector wage dispute.

Members of the trade union held demonstrations at Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein on Tuesday, on the second day of the two-day conciliation hearing.

Cosatu’s provincial deputy chairperson Thibogang Thole says they chose to picket outside their workplace, to demonstrate their anger towards the government.

Thole says, “We’re going to mobilise all the affiliates of Cosatu that are in the public sector, to make them ready, to go for a national shutdown, so that we can put pressure on our government and they must realise that we’re really angry as workers and we don’t want anything below the 10 percent.”

National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) secretary in Limpopo, Tommy Motsoa, described as unacceptable the government’s decision to increase workers’ salaries by three percent.

He was speaking during a picket at the premier’s office in Polokwane.

Motsoa says, “And we are saying that as much as the government it cannot afford such an amount, we feel that it is a disgrace on their part, because initially if you check we have a bad history of how the government is treating the workers.”

Resumption of wage talks in the public sector fails to deliver: