As government and labour representatives return to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) to continue with wage negotiations on Friday morning, the employer has called on all parties not to go there looking to “win”.
Describing the talks as the most difficult yet, Department of Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu explained that the wage negotiations required courage and leadership as the state faced financial hardships.
The government is expected to move from its earlier offer of 0% wage increases for workers on Friday morning after negotiators said that they would seek a new mandate when unions rejected the proposal last week.
As a counter-move, some public service unions threatened a strike, which was unlikely at this stage.
For a strike certificate to be issued, parties would have to reach a deadlock at the PSCBC, declare a dispute, move on to conciliation and should that fail, only begin the strike certificate application at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration.
Even then, unions would have to ballot all their members to see if they supported the industrial action.
Mchunu said that those seeking to destabilize the public service would be disappointed.
“Even though there are all these difficulties, including the Constitutional Court and the threats that you are talking about, we still have confidence that matters will be resolved and we will ensure the stability of the state on hand and peace in the public service.”
Trade unions are demanding, among others, inflation plus 4% wage increases, while Treasury has said there was no money in the fiscus to foot the public wage bill.
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