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Afrique du Sud COSATU public service unions go on strike

D 29 juillet 2010     H 12:48     A COSATU     C 0 messages

The COSATU Public Service Unions representing more than 56% employees in the Public Service comprised of SADTU, NEHAWU, POPCRU, DENOSA, SASAWU, SADNU, SAMA and PAWUSA met yesterday to consolidate their way forward on the current wage impasse.

The public service unions appreciate the economic challenges in the country and have shown a lot of patience during this year’s wage negotiations and we have done our utmost best to avoid going on strike.

A public service strike is unlike any other strike because it affects everyone especially the poor and vulnerable society who are sorely dependent on government services for their daily survival.

At the beginning of this year we were told that all of us needed to tighten our belts and exercise prudence with the available resources in order to ensure that service delivery is prioritised and all the available resources are better utilised.

The employer showed no willingness to move from the 6, 5 % wage increase, R620 housing subsidy and the implementation date of the 1st of July 2010.

Our original demands based on a commissioned research by the Joint Mandating Committee of Cosatu at the beginning of the wage negotiations were that of 11% increase across the board, R1650 housing subsidy, equalisation of medical subsidy of those employees on private medical scheme with GEMS and the implementation date of the 1st of April.

After several rounds of wage negotiations and as an attempt to bring the employer within a possible settlement ranges we reached a compromise and tabled a package of 8,6 wage increase, R1000 housing subsidy and the implementation date of the 1st of April. .

During these negotiations our members were reading on a daily basis of the government’s wasteful expenditure on cars, hotels, parties and advertising, World Cup tickets and this was sending a wrong message because we were told that there is no money. This amounted to hundreds of millions of rands.

During this year’s round of negotiations other public sector employees settled as follows :

Local Government 13%
Transnet 11%
Eskom 9%
South African Revenue Services 8%
It is therefore unacceptable that the Public Service Unions are offered a mere 6,5%.

At the moment the employer is offering a 6,5% salary increase, R120 housing allowance on top of the current R500, no movement on medical aid and the implementation date of the 1st of July.

We have now come to a firm conclusion that we go on strike. Therefore we will today serve government with a notice to strike.

As part of the preparations we will start with a build-up programme of pickets, marches, demonstrations etc. We will have two National Marches in Pretoria and Cape Town on Tuesday the 10th of August 2010.

We call on the employer to finalise the minimum service level agreement without any further delay. It is now up to the government to present an improved revised offer if they want to avert a strike.