Public, unions, stakeholders urged to help find solutions to wage stalemate

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Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu has urged the public, unions and all relevant stakeholders to help find solutions to the government’s stalemate over the public sector wage dispute.

Last week, the government gave labour unions a zero-percent offer, instead of the requested seven percent salary increase. Labour federations have voiced their intention to embark on a public servants’ wage strike in May.

Mchunu says it’s normal for the government to request the public’s input when absolutely necessary.

Mchunu says, “I’m not negotiating through the media, after all the SA government came into being as a result of the vote of the people, as government we cannot do this on our own. There’s nothing wrong with interacting with them. We are not negotiating, the negotiation is at the bargaining chamber. All I’m saying, could someone augment or maybe contribute ideas…”

“We are working very hard on the matter ourselves but there could be someone from the public who may have a better idea, there’s nothing wrong with that,” says Mchunu.

Government spends R4.5-billion on salaries of suspended employees

The public sector should not be excluded

Labour Federation COSATU says the public services sector should not be excluded from wage increases as government had allowed for some State-Owned Enterprises and Parliamentary workers to receive salary hikes.

COSATU’s chief negotiator for public sector unions Mugwena Maluleke says, “There are frontline workers who have been there for our people, rendering certain services. They must explain how they managed to give the Parliamentary workers an increase in the midst of the pandemic and the SOEs the go-ahead to give 6% increases. We were in the midst of the pandemic last year but they don’t give the public servants increases. What process did they use to give to some and not to the others?”

Public Servants Association’s Claude Naicker says they expect the government to make a revised offer.

“Should the employer not meet our demand of proper salary increase, the union will have no option but to declare a dispute and embark on industrial action. Once we declare a dispute on Friday the 23rd of April a process of conciliation will take place over 30 days, should conciliation fail then we have an option of embarking on a strike.”

In the video below, unions demand a 7% increase: