Home South African Cosatu consults members on government’s wage offer

Cosatu consults members on government’s wage offer

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Government is offering a 1.5% pensionable increase plus R978 per month from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022

Cosatu’s chief negotiator at the wage talks Mugwena Maluleke. Picture: Timothy Bernard

SA DEMOCRATIC Teachers Union (Sadtu) general secretary Mugwena Maluleke says unions are currently consulting with their members following government’s offer of a 1.5% pensionable increase plus R978 per month from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

In an interview with eNCA, Maluleke, who is Cosatu’s chief negotiator at the wage talks, said consultations had been very difficult as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions.

“Our unions are devising other means of meeting their members and also being able to meet the structures, so it’s going a bit slow. We are looking at about 10 to 14 days of this round of consultations, given the fact that we need to adapt to the new way of engaging our members,” said Maluleke.

The Public Service Association (PSA) earlier told Independent Media that Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu is ill-informed about claims that they had walked out of the facilitation process.

The PSA’s acting deputy manager for members’ affairs, Reuben Maleka, said they have never walked out of a facilitation process before.

“The minister of public service and administration is ill-informed and out of touch with reality. The PSA has never walked away from any processes in its more than 100 years of existence. He must get his facts correct. We were excluded from the process of facilitation, and if invited we will surely show up and participate.

“He, in fact, even proposed a meeting on May 11, 2021, but without any reason cancelled the meeting with the PSA,” said Maleka.

Mchunu said on Tuesday that he was concerned with the conduct of the PSA in respect of the current wage negotiations.

“The PSA has opted not to participate in the ongoing facilitation process and has resorted to making public statements, which are neither responsible nor constructive, and not in the interests of the public servants in the public service. We strongly discourage the actions by the PSA.

“Government and organised labour in council are currently trying to resolve the impasse through the constitutionally recognised process of collective bargaining and such acts and utterances fly against this principle,” said Mchunu.

Commenting on the 1.5% offer made, DA MP and its spokesperson on finance Geordin Hill-Lewis said the government’s offer of R978 per month would add at least R15.6 billion in new expenditure to the already desperately overstretched budget.

“Government has recently ended the Covid relief grant of R350 per month. The government’s message to the country seems to be: ‘we have no money for the poor, but we can afford monthly cash bonuses for civil servants,” Hill-Lewis said.

He added that the “gratuity payment” constitutes a massive step back in reining in the public wage bill and enforcing fiscal discipline.