Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana offered the services of “the most senior commissioners of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)” on Monday to help out in the public sector wage dispute.
“The minister has emphasised that the strike is a dispute between the employer and its employees and a collective bargaining matter which should only be resolved through collective bargaining,” his spokesperson, Mzobanzi Jikazana, said in a statement.
“The minister has called on these parties to endeavour to find a settlement.”
The wage dispute between the government and public sector unions has so far been dealt with in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).
“Mdladlana says he is offering the services of the most senior commissioners of the CCMA to be mediators in a bid to help find a settlement to the impasse,” said Jikazana.
Public Servants’ Association (PSA) spokesperson Manie de Clercq said that the minister’s offer would be considered, but that it would only be useful if all the parties agreed to use the CCMA.
A PSCBC meeting was scheduled to take place at 6.00pm on Monday to talk about the strike, said De Clercq.
Lack of interpreters
Meanwhile, Cape High Court officials reported on Monday that most criminal trials have been postponed because interpreters have joined the strike.
The court encountered the same problem last week, they said.
Strikers assembled on the steps of the court on Monday morning singing and holding signs demanding an 8,6% wage increase and a R1 000 housing allowance.
Judge Anton Veldhuizen, who was presiding over a trial for murder, rape and robbery, told the court that he had tried to do everything he could to make sure an interpreter was present, but had been unsuccessful.
Veldhuizen said the case would be postponed to Tuesday in the hope that an interpreter would be available. –Sapa