Today's Labour News

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ramaphosa2Bloomberg writes that a standoff between the government and unions representing its 1.3 million workers over pay increases puts President Cyril Ramaphosa in a jam.  

While his administration has pledged to stick to its deficit targets and expenditure ceilings, he can ill afford to alienate the unions ahead of next year’s elections or risk strikes that would curb growth.  He is also indebted to the unions for backing his campaign to win control of the ruling ANC last year, a victory that set the stage for him to replace Jacob Zuma.  “He is in a Catch-22.  The unions are not going to buy into the argument that the government can’t afford the increases they want,” political analyst Sethulego Matebesi commented.  The wage talks have already dragged on for more than seven months.  The eight unions that represent teachers, nurses and other state workers have warned they won’t tolerate the government’s “delaying tactics” much longer.  Civil servants last staged a strike in 2010 that dragged on for three weeks.  While wage talks were due to resume on Tuesday, the government requested a delay until 3 May, saying it needed more time to consult.  The current wage agreement expired at the end of March and any increases will be backdated.

  • Read this informative report by Mike Cohen in full at Moneyweb

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