The crucial public sector wage negotiations have entered the final stretch. Government and public sector unions have until the end of next week to finalise a new wage agreement for the country’s 1. 2 million civil servants.

This after the parties agreed on a draft agreement two weeks ago, which was then put on the table for a period of 21 days for undecided unions to make up their minds whether sign or not.

Only 34.5% of the unions were ready to sign when the draft agreement was reached two weeks ago.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), which represents 21% of the workforce, was the first to accept government’s offer of a 1.5% increase.

In addition, the lowest paid workers will receive a monthly cash gratuity of R1 695 a month, and the highest paid employees will receive R1 200 a month.

Fifteen percent of the unions are required to reach a 50% threshold to conclude and implement the wage deal.

In the video below, public sector wage negotiations enter final stretch:

The SADTU general-secretary, Mugwena Maluleke, who is also the convener for all Cosatu-affiliated unions, is confident that a deal will be reached.

Big Cosatu-affiliated unions, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) have rejected the offer, leaving the Public Servants Association (PSA), a Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) affiliate, as the king-makers.

The PSA represents 18% of civil servants in the country and it is expected to announce on Friday that it accepts the offer and will sign the agreement, sealing the deal.

A strange turn of events, given the fact that the PSA pulled out of the talks early and was very vocal against the whole process.