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Public sector strike looming

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The picket came as a result of the collapse of the negotiation process with regard to salary increases for 2018.

WARNING: Members of the Public Servants Association staged a picket outside the Office of the Premier in Kimberley after a collapse in wage talks. They have also warned of a full-blown strike. Picture: Soraya Crowie

PUBLIC sector officials from various government departments in the Northern Cape, belonging to the Public Servants Association (PSA), have warned that a full-blown strike is looming after wage negotiations collapsed.

Members of the PSA on Friday staged a picket outside the Office of the Premier in Kimberley, while demanding salary increases.

PSA provincial manager, Steve Ledibane, said that the picket came as a result of the collapse of the negotiation process with regard to salary increases for 2018.

Ledibane indicated that the union had made an initial demand of a 12% increase for salary levels 1 to 7, 11% for salary levels 8 and 9 and 10% percent for salary levels 10 to 12.

However, the employer only offered 7%, 6.5% and 6% respectively.

“We tabled the demands of our members on October 5, 2017 and the employer presented its offer on January 26, 2018. Subsequently, parties embarked on a facilitation process, which did not yield the speedy conclusion of the negotiations as anticipated. Instead, the process resulted in the PSA declaring a dispute on the failure to reach an agreement.

“A special council meeting was convened on May 18 (Friday), wherein the employer tabled a revised offer which was a product from the bi-laterals that were held with some parties to council,” Ledibane said.

He did, however add that the PSA was being “sidelined” from these negotiations.

“The employer and Cosatu unions are attempting to move a resolution to expel PSA from the negotiations that are to take place in Centurion. The secretary of council already advised these unions and employer they cannot legally expel PSA as the largest general public service union in council.

“It is now clear that some unions and employer are one, we will, however, not be intimidated nor deterred by the insults that were thrown at our negotiators. The PSA has every right to negotiate and declare a dispute to advance the plight of public servants and filed an arbitration notice on behalf of health workers with the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC),” Ledibane said.

He remained adamant that the PSA would “not budge” with regards to their demands and warned that its members would be embarking on a “full-blown strike” if their demands are not met.

While it was reported that an agreement was reached on Friday evening in the protracted public sector wage negotiations, with the majority of unions having accepted the offer, Ledibana said that the PSA would never sign the agreement in its current form.