Statement by COSATU Public Service Unions, 24 March 2015
The seven COSATU Public Service unions, namely, NEHAWU, SADTU, POPCRU, DENOSA, SAMA, SASAWU and PAWUSA together with other unions admitted in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) submitted demands to the employer on 30th September 2015. Our demands included, amongst others:
• 15% salary increase for all employees
• A single-term agreement
• R3000.00 housing allowance in the absence of a Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) which must be delinked from each spouse employed in the public service
• 10 leave working days for parents with children with disabilities
• Bursary Scheme for government employees’ children
These negotiations have been very slow as a result of employer delaying tactics. The current agreement expires on the 31 March 2015 therefore we are left with literally 6 (six) days to its expiry.
The parties at the PSCBC agreed during the pre-negotiations process that the base from which the negotiations will start from will be 5,8%, based on the year-on-year CPI of the 2013/14 Financial Year. The employer tabled their opening bid as 5% increase which was against the spirit of the pre-negotiations meeting. Labour rejected their initial offer on the basis that the employer was reneging on the undertaking of the pre-negotiations process. They later came with a proposal of 5,8% salary increase across the board for the Financial year 2015/16 within a multi-term agreement of 3 (three) years.
On the 3rd of March 2015, labour moved from 15% salary increase across the board to a 10% increase and moved from R3000.00 housing allowance to R1500.00. We were shocked and disturbed when the employer reversed its offer to 4,8% claiming that it was a projected average CPI for the 2015/16 financial year.
After much delay from the employer the negotiations came to a halt in the early hours of Monday, 23 March 2015. The meeting went on until 02h30 in the morning with Labour insisting on negotiating for a better deal, an approach that was met with an arrogant and intransigent attitude of the employer. The employer came back and increased their meagre 4,8% offer with a shameful 0,2 to make it 5% for the current Financial Year and CPI plus 0,5% in the following two Financial Years. Labour rejected that offer.
It was then agreed in Council that the employer must go back to its principals for a revised and a better offer as Labour is still on 10% increase across the board. Parties to the PSCBC will meet again on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 to continue with the negotiations.
It must be noted that Labour is fully committed to engage the employer seven days a week until the settlement is reached. At the same time, as Labour, we will be engaging with our members to comprehensively engage with them on what is transpiring in the negotiations.
We further call on government to show the same commitment to this process.