Public servants embark on nationwide lunchtime pickets

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Public Service workers belonging to the National Health and Allied Workers union (Nehawu) embarked on lunchtime pickets countrywide today. The pickets come amid growing threats of strike action in the public sector over higher wages.

Negotiations between government and unions collapsed at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council again last week. The unions have threatened to down tools if government doesn’t revise its current 3% wage offer.

Unions are demanding an above inflation 10% salary increase.

Cosatu public service workers braved the rainy weather during their lunchtime picket at the Sassa Document Warehouse in Johannesburg.

Spokesperson for Cosatu’s Joint Mandating Committee Richard Mamabolo says, “These are part of ongoing pickets across all provinces where members of different unions and federations are expressing their dissatisfaction with the 3%. In the coming days, the unions will be coming together. They are balloting their members and that outcome will give guidance on further action to be taken,” says Mamabolo.

Nehawu Sassa Chairperson, Vincent Mothiba says that salaries are the major grievance of the picketers.

“The main issue is only salary. If government can give us the workers 10% then there will be no stress and nothing will happen. This thing is happening in all the country. Today, we are not eating but demonstrating. We will eat later on,” says Mothiba.

The Nehawu workers at the Sassa Document Warehouse say the pickets will continue until their demands are met.

Government is sticking with the 3% offer that has since been rejected.

The workers are saying not even the rainy weather condition will deter them from their course. They’ve called on other unionised public sector workers to also join in the lunchtime pickets as a show of unity.

There is a plan-of-action briefing set for Wednesday – in the meantime the workers say they will continue with their pickets.