Sun, 11 Apr 2021

  • Unions at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council have demanded a CPI plus 4% increase for 2021.
  • This comes days after Mboweni tabled his Budget Speech, during which he repeated his call for urgent controls of spending by government.
  • South African Democratic Teachers Union secretary general Mugwena Maluleke said a negotiator notified him that the demand had been made.

Less than a week after Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni put paid to government's plans to come to grips with government spending, unions at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council have demanded a CPI plus 4% increase in wage negotiations with the Department of Public Service and Administration.

This comes just days after Mboweni tabled his Budget Speech in Parliament last week, during which he repeated his call for urgent controls of spending by government, including containing the rise of the public service wage bill.

At the same time, public service unions have also taken government to the Constitutional Court as they want government to honour the 2018 three-year wage agreement for CPI plus 1% increases.

Government opted not to pay the increase, with National Treasury anticipating that it would add more than R37 billion to the 2020/21 wage bill.

The labour demands circular, which Fin24 has seen, says labour is demanding a general salary increase of CPI plus 4% across the board and the abolishing of salary levels 1 to 3, with entry level in the public service being amended to level 4.

"Labour demands that pay progression be allowed beyond top notches of salary levels as well as personal salary notches," the document said.

South African Democratic Teachers Union secretary general Mugwena Maluleke told Fin24 that a negotiator in the bargaining council, which met on Monday, got in contact with him to notify him that the demand had been made.

"I have just written to my guy in the chamber to find out if that is the final demand. He says to me that he has emailed me. But it is correct that that is what we are asking for," said Maluleke.

Maluleke said government did not give unions what was agreed upon in previous wage negotiations and, as a result, unions would expect to find common ground with employers in the latest round of negotiations.

"Negotiations are about give and take. We are going in in the spirit of negotiation. It is informed by all of the things that public sector workers don't qualify for such as RDP and NSFAS. It is all about give and take as well as trade-offs," Maluleke said.

Following last week's Budget Speech, Mboweni told reporters that the state of the public service wage bill and negotiations were not taking place under a state of divide and rule and that there would always be room for discussion on the matter.

The Department of Public Service and Administration could not immediately comment or respond to the union demands.

Source: News24

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