Unions mull over 1.5% wage increase by government

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Public Sector Unions are still mulling over the 1.5% wage offer that was tabled by the government during wage negotiations this past weekend.

The two sides are scheduled to meet on Thursday to continue the talks, however, unions say they are still consulting their members about the offer and are in no rush to give a response.

After sticking to a zero percent wage increase position since the crucial wage negotiations began, the government took many by surprise when it suddenly relented and tabled a 1.5% offer to the unions.

While it is nowhere near the 7% increase that the unions are demanding, economists have described the government’s move as sensible.

Public sector unions still mulling over government’s 1.5% wage increase offer

Unions shoot down offer

Earlier, acting General Secretary of Num, William Mabapa said, “There’s no offer on the table. What has been given is a joke. It’s a 1.5% that is conditional.”

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) says their members will not entertain any offer below the consumer price inflation, currently sitting at 3.2%.

“Eskom is playing with us, 1.5% which is below inflation. It’s not even a starter for our discussions. We told them that we’re not accepting the 1.5. We can only talk about them making an offer if the 1.5 is above inflation,” says Numsa’s chief negotiator Vuyo Bikitsha.

Eskom wage negotiations teetering on the brink of collapse

Meanwhile, the crucial Eskom wage negotiations are also heating up as Unions have rejected the 1.5 percent wage offer tabled by management.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) are both demanding a 15% wage increase, while Solidarity is demanding 9.5%.

The Eskom negotiations are scheduled to run until June 3, 2021.

Last week, government requested time out to go and consider a number of proposals that had been made by independent economists.

Mugwena Maluleke is the convener for all Cosatu-affiliated public service unions in the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council.

“The employer has tabled a revised offer to the council. However, the process of engagement is ongoing and therefore the details shall only be made available once the council General Secretary has released a draft of a formal offer, at the moment we are still engaging.”

Government began the negotiations with a zero percent increase offer, while the unions have been demanding a 7% wage hike. They dismissed the zero percent increase as a slap in the face, especially to healthcare workers who have been at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19.

More on the revised offer in the video below: