Today's Labour News

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southafricalogoCity Press writes that threats of a massive public sector strike next month are being undercut by disunity amongst the public sector trade unions.

The Public Servants Association (PSA), public sector trade unions affiliated to Cosatu and the Federation of Unions of SA (Fusa) recently declared a deadlock over wage increases. This was after government doubled down on National Treasury’s stance that there was no money to foot the bill for the unions’ demand of salary increases linked to inflation plus 4%. Instead, government’s “revised offer” came in the form of a proposal that the funds currently allocated for pay progression, resettlement costs for workers from one province to the other and daily allowances no longer be paid out. This money would instead be channelled towards the salary increases that state employees are demanding. While all the unions rejected government’s latest offer, describing it as “absurd”, the challenge appears to be finding common ground on how they can work together as they take on government. At present, it appears that the unions are all working independently, even while pursuing the common goal of getting the government to buckle and table a revised offer. Although there had been an expectation that the unions would meet following the stalemate with government, such an undertaking has not yet materialised, with unions choosing to “go it on their own”. The conciliation process to address the deadlock will be facilitated by the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council, but because the unions cannot reach consensus and have not make a joint submission, the parties might have to meet the council mediator separately. The PSA expects some sort of industrial action next month, but has not indicated whether this would be done jointly with other unions. The other unions, while also indicating that a strike was unavoidable, have not decided when the mass action would start and whether they would do it in unison. “It’s only when these unions start speaking in one voice and taking one course of action that government will start taking their demands seriously,” commented one source.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Juniour Khumalo at City Press (paywall access only)
  • Read too, People power is Senzo Mchunu’s ‘third way’ on wage dispute, at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page